Two Man Show (Literally) at Skylight GalleryApril 13, 2011
Skylight Gallery is a fascinating venue. It is on the second floor of an old building on the northern end of the gallery area of Chelsea. Downstairs is a detective agency. Yes, Virginia, there really are detective agencies. (Actually, before we found our current space, we looked high and low, north and south [of 34th Street] looking for office space. One of the spaces we looked at was in another detective agency. It actually had a knee high, swinging gate to get into the office area. They wanted to rent us their conference room. The guy who ran the agency was an ex-Commodore for the New York Yacht Club. But more about that another day.)
Back to the two man show which, by the way, was excellent.
Carla Goldberg, the gallery director and an artist herself, has developed a superior eye for other artists’ work. This time, she chose sculptors Gary Jacketti and Linus Coraggio.
Jacketti is a classically trained sculptor who studied in Rome and Florence and has degrees from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and Kutztown University. He’s shown regularly in the US, Europe and Japan. Much of his sculpture work is commissioned bronze portraiture which requires careful creation of clay figures from which molds are made and the bronze poured.
He didn’t show sculptures; he showed mosaics and paintings.
The question, of course, is why? The answer is … boredom. Jacketti had been executing a triple bronze portrait in clay, a monochromatic medium. After doing that, he requires color, intense color, and more color still.
Mosaics are one of his favorite pastimes (not the correct word but a word must be chosen). Jacketti makes his own tiles from scratch. He take clay, forms large tiles, glazes them with enamel, bakes and cuts them to fit his concept. One highlight was his take-off on Andy Warhol’s ubiquitous portrait of Elizabeth Taylor. Up close, it’s a blur of color, step back and the mosaic’s likeness to Warhol’s portrait is astounding, given the medium.
Jacketti is delightful in not taking himself too seriously. This is also evident in his paintings, in which he’s pouring color and having a really good, creative time. Excellent abstract work with a couple of recognizable more realistic pieces thrown in.
Linus Coraggio is a BFA graduate from SUNY Purchase and has also studied at Skowhegen. He’s received many grants and awards and has been showing regularly since 1984.
He began building intricate sculptures as a child using toothpicks. His calling was obvious although he has since graduated from toothpicks and Elmer’s Glue.
Coraggio creates his sculptures from found objects. In fact, he claims to have an enormous collection of metal and other stuff, but mostly metal tools, barbed wire, screws, gears, wheels, rods, nails, bikes, chairs, wire and all sorts of bits and pieces which he welds into sculptures. Some are whimsical, some are semi-functional, some are purely abstract.
His smaller pieces resemble creatures and objects that we know, each made from like parts. There might be a dog made from screws or a chair made from pocket knife parts. He makes pieces that you think are antique toys, except that they’re not.
There are also the purely abstract pieces which include an elegant tower of circles made of metal rings or the friendly piece that resembles an owl made of bits and pieces. There’s also the fantastic wall attached sculpture I covet called Mirro Relief which is a stunning agglomeration of mirror, tray, wheel and whatnot. So take care and do not buy this piece!
But do go to Skylight Gallery and enjoy first class art by two artists at the top of their games. I;m a fan of both artists. The show is open through May 14.