April 10, 2013

Antonio Adriano Puleo: Sculpted Paintings & Painted Sculptures


The paintings in Antonio Adriano Puleo's new show at the Luckman Gallery may seem all over the place - both literally and figuratively - but they hold together under the well established tradition of painterly exploration.  The gallery's website mentions Frank Stella, Josef Albers, Ad Reinhardt, and Robert Ryman as some of Puleo's influences - all artists who used paint more like scientists and philosophers trying to figure out what it was, what it could do, and what it meant.  Likewise, the 100+ paintings in this show, installed in perfect grids throughout the gallery, read like test results from Puleo's artistic experimentations.

Work by Antonio Adriano Puleo from Sculpted Paintings & Painted Scultures at the Luckman Gallery

Painting by Antonio Adriano Puleo

The Luckman Gallery, located on the campus of Cal State L.A., is a large, beautiful space and Puleo's work looks great in it.  The art is colorful, interesting, and abundent.  But far from being a mere aesthetic experience, the way the show is installed in the gallery goes a long way in shaping the viewer's understanding of the work.  Taken individually, Puleo's small paintings may seem to have more in common with the work of Raoul De Keyser or Andrew Masullo than they do Reinhardt or Ryman.  You might even be tempted to categorize Puleo as a "provisional painter" - Raphael Rubinstein's term for painters whose work is purposely "casual, dashed-off, tentative, unfinished or self-canceling."

Work by Antonio Adriano Puleo in Sculpted Paintings & Painted Sculptures at the Luckman Gallery

Painting by Antonio Adriano Puleo

But Puleo's installation deflects this interpretation.  Nothing about it seems casual or unplanned.  The simple fact that the paintings are the same size shows foresight and seeing all the work grouped together in perfectly ordered grids emphasizes the fact that they are intended to be viewed as part of a larger project, ripe with artistic intention.  Assuming Puleo was responsible for the installation, he seems to be tipping his hand as an artist who takes his work very seriously.

Works by Antonio Adriano Puleo from Sculpted Paintings & Painted Sculptures at the Luckman Gallery
Painting by Antonio Adriano Puleo

Painting by Antonio Adriano Puleo

Work by Antonio Adriano Puleo

Work by Antonio Adriano Puleo

Sculpted Paintings & Painted Sculptures: New Work 2009-Present is on view at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State L.A. until June 1, 2013.

(Image at top: Paintings by Antonio Adriano Puleo in Sculpted Paintings & Painted Sculptures at the Luckman Gallery)

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