Sandra Gering Gallery is pleased to introduce the work of Chris Capuozzo in an exhibition titled The Launching of the Dream Weapon from 3 June - 2 July 2004.
Capuozzo's drawings and collage paintings present a dizzying world built on 20 years of compulsive image collecting, particularly imagery of a surreal, psychedelic, fantasy-based nature. Throughout the years, these disparate images culled from Capuozzo's surroundings have coalesced into a distinctive personal graphic language. Capuozzo's formative artistic experiences were as a graffiti artist while he attended high school in New York City. He explains:
"There were things about graffiti that made perfect sense to me; the psychedelia promoted in the graffiti aesthetic was some sort of culmination of the culture around me. At a certain point, this experience became the source material of a graphic language I'm still working with and understanding. I've also been inspired by record album art, magazines, children's art, signage, video games, movies, television, comics, etc.
In the end, what I produce is a sort of surreal theatre of imagery where cosmic forces are at play: animals barter with savages and letters, letterforms are distorted, humans gaze at animals interacting with geometric shapes, or are themselves meditating, lost in glassy eyed stargazing and rampant psychedelia."
Capuozzo makes drawings obsessively. For his paintings, he cuts out elements from the drawings and collages them together, letting the compositions evolve on an intuitive level. Much like a graffiti-covered wall, his paintings show layers of activity - one symbol, character, letter, or design blocking out another. As Capuozzo places his images together, he watches the composition emerge, seeing unintended narratives develop. Characters from his high school graffiti years mingle with images developed a couple of decades later. Capuozzo says: "I'm constantly thrilled by watching these random elements come together and speak in some new way."
This is Chris Capuozzo's first exhibition at Sandra Gering Gallery. In 2000, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum exhibited an entire sketchbook of Capuozzo's drawings in the National Design Triennial and subsequently acquired the book for the museum's permanent collection. His work was also featured in Style Wars, the definitive documentary about New York graffiti from the mid '80s. Capuozzo graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 1988, and is a founding member and creative director at the design studio Funny Garbage.