GERING & LóPEZ GALLERY is pleased to present Placebo Effect, an exhibition of new paintings on linen by New York based artist Michael Bevilacqua. This will be Bevilacqua’s second solo exhibit with the gallery. This exhibition, radically different from his last at the gallery, is much more minimal, starkly showcasing his technical and conceptual skill as a painter.
Contrary to popular trends in art and art theory, Bevilacqua is not afraid to admit that he is an autobiographical artist. Each painting is a series of diary entries, painted and repainted as he explores and reflects on the world around him. Each work starts with a song, the soundtrack of Bevilacqua’s life at that given moment of creative production. These works display clear references to the bands the Ramones, Gorillaz, and Placebo, through lyrical text often scrawled graffiti-style across the canvas or in cutout block lettering. The textual component interacts with abstracted cartoon characters and objects, forcing the viewer to oscillate between background and foreground. Through this visual language, Bevilacqua weaves his personal narratives, stories and emotions that under- and overlap each other in the layers of screenprinting, stencils, and free hand acrylic brushstrokes.
Bevilacqua further deviates from the contemporary status quo of a Neo-Modernist approach to the picture plane with his vibrant use of color, which simultaneously intertwines multiple painting techniques across the canvas, stretching our conventional notion of collage. He creates a myriad of surfaces all functioning within the confines of a single plane, similar to the way we open endless windows on our computer screens. These multiple layers of color, technique, and references provide the eye with many opportunities to wander, but there is no resolution.
The complexity and depth of this work relates directly to the artist as a person. He is exploring issues of self, family, art, and the co-existing roles he must play as well as the power the practice of painting has over these internal struggles. This leads to his enigmatic title, Placebo Effect. A clear reference to the music group, the title can have multiple secondary metaphorical interpretations. Bevilacqua could be feeding himself this sugar pill, pouring his life onto an inanimate piece of stretched linen as a form of therapeutic relief, or he could be serving it to the viewer, the voyeur. He has lived this, and your viewing experience is merely a “placebo effect” of Michael Bevilacqua’s life.
Michael Bevilacqua was born in Carmel, California in 1966. He attended Long Beach State University and Santa Barbara City College, later continuing his studies at the Cambridge College of Art and Technology in Great Britain. Bevilacqua has exhibited internationally including solo shows in Beijing, Copenhagen, Milan, Tokyo, Madrid, Barcelona, and New York. He has also exhibited in group shows at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece; The Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT. His work is in numerous public collections including The Mitsuni Collection, Tokyo, Japan; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece; Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Norway; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX.