Continuing through June 30, 2012
The bric-a-brac items that are throwaways to most of us – the ephemera of human existence - become hallowed objects in the warm and inviting still life paintings of Anthony Velasquez. His assemblages of rusted cans, old shoes, animal pelts and other items in totem-style structures are enigmatic at first. Yet the objects give pause, inviting viewers to create their own narratives as to why such things have been collected, arranged and then recreated in a painting. "Senses #6," for instance, is a tower comprised of a gasoline jerrycan, a quail egg, a Braille book and a railroad lamp, topped by a bowling pin. Curious as it is, though, it invokes all five senses.
In "Senses #1," well-worn boxing gloves drape over an old black pay phone, with the assemblage also making room for a View-Master and a vintage atomizer, only to be topped off by a rusted food can. There must be a story behind the selection of objects; the viewer is seduced into looking for it. Velasquez chooses to use walnut oil-based paint on walnut panels, with frames from natural walnut. The effect is an appropriately antiqued one, exuding a variety of brown, ivory and sepia tones. In addition, Velasquez strives for realism by painting all the objects to size. The eight works that comprise the show have haunting, nostalgic, even playful qualities. The objects may be functionally obsolete, but in Velasquez hands they are still in their prime.