The exhibition Nightmares & Dreamscapes was born out of the desire to show for the first time to an Italian audience the paintings and drawings of seven artists, none of them born in New York, but all currently living and working in the Big Apple.
It is a known fact that painting, after the photography and video boom of the late '90s and early 2000s, has come back in full swing and its importance on the international art scene is evident. It would be presumptuous on the curator's behalf to invest these seven artists with the role of "representatives" of New York painting practices. However, it is fair to say that the diversity of the styles and of the media adopted by them provides significant examples of the development and directions of painting and drawing practices in the American metropolis.
But it's not only their two-dimensional aspect that brings together these works. The title of the exhibition, "stolen" from an advertisement billboard seen one late summer night coming back into the City, seemed perfect to summarize, on one hand, a similar fascination with dreamlike, surrealistic landscapes, as portrayed by Bradley Castellanos, originally from Connecticut, which mixes the photographic medium with painting, or intended more as an ethereal and atmospheric mental dimension with a strong allegorical connotation, as in the works by Jonathan Podwil, born in Pennsylvania.
The second part of the title, the one that relates to "nightmares", brings together the work of Dasha Shishkin, of Russian origin but living in the US for approximately 15 years, Zachary Clement, originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Colombian Ana Garces Kiley and Long Islander John Grande. While Grande portrays as a background in his photo-realistic paintings the "nightmares" brought to us by real-life events (such as a nuclear mushroom cloud or the 9/11 explosion at the Pentagon), the other three artists explore a more intimate and at times "darker" and tormented dimension, one that leads to the creation of bizarre, mythical, sometimes sinister, at other times comical characters, that often become alter egos of the artists themselves.
Jeffrey Beebe, born in Indiana, acts somehow as the link between the two groups with his watercolors on paper depicting a surreal world inhabited by comic-like characters often situated in dreamlike landscapes.