May 5 – June 11, 2016
Opening Reception Thursday May 5, 6 – 8 PM
Cara Gallery is pleased to present Call the Bluff, a visual narrative by Italian born artist Beatrice Scaccia specifically designed for the gallery space.
The artist’s first exhibition with Cara Gallery will present a new body of work. A sequence of large drawings (made with graphite, gesso, and wax applied with an iron) and a series of small works on panel, act as an antechamber for the presentation of the artist’s sizable paintings on canvas, which were never exhibited to the public before.
Extracts of critical essay by Valentina Casacchia, on Beatrice Scaccia’s work
Scaccia’s work conveys an epistemological discourse about the paradox of existence, and its potential as a temporal form. From the start, her treatment of existence is addressed as an event, an action captured regardless of the underlying facts, and represented in its aspects of undetermined, impersonal fullness. A neutral, anonymous, general existence that moves in a background flux full of hardly-decipherable sounds, becoming embodied, at every stage, as a faceless figure devoid of any precise identity.
Such a being, throughout her oeuvre, has had numerous names and settings, but is always unvaried in its fundamental qualities of undefined humanity – infantile, certainly, obsessive, covered in scarves, hats, ample clothing, and busying itself with a series of plotless events. Its disconnected action and child-like dance is not some form of behavioral habit but the symbolic mark of a system of awareness. (…)
Beatrice Scaccia’s universe recovers the sense of imagination as the foundation of authentic existence – the one that approaches truth more than any other experience. Substituting “I think, therefore I am” with “I exist” – nothing more – the artist paints an imaginary realm of ordinary actions, which far from constructing an ordered sequence with narrative intent, provide the recollection of something perceived with the possibility of an action taking shape here and now.
The key character, seen again and again, immersed in an opaque existence, interrupted by banal movement, should not be read solely as the alter ego of the artist, translated into an imaginary, fairytale world (and here lies the greatness of her work), but as the symbolic representation of this paradoxical condition– in other words, “if, then, time present – if it be time – comes into existence only because it passes into time past, how can we say that even this is, since the cause of its being is that it will cease to be?” (Augustine, Confessions [tr Albert C. Outler] ).
Beatrice Scaccia almost always covers her characters’ faces, but not excessively – just as much as is needed without making them entirely recognizable. Their gaze is visible, but not their mouths, which very often remain invisible. This might suggest a shy or awkward element, but perhaps there’s more. “The truth of the word is the silence that follows it” ( “La vérité de la parole est dans le silence qui la suit”, Jöe Bousquet) , and suffering constitutes an open question, perhaps the quintessential question.
Existence, as we have described it in the artist’s work, constantly runs up against its own temporal limits, and is accompanied from within by elemental suffering. The possibility of existing is the risk we run, and pain is an obligatory rite of passage; the creative act represents a key, a potential response. Language remains beyond this condition, belonging to a subsequent process. In the phase we witness here, meeting the Other concerns the membrane of life, of layers of skin (the countless clothes). As with many species, these beings discover they belong to one another through a series of primary attributes that do not involve speech. Not yet. They glance at each other, they smell, and in the end recognize and approach one other. Close by, in silence, they form part of the same world. Above all, they feel they share the same story.
Beatrice Scaccia’s visual and formal unconscious has deep roots. Built on the study, love and experience of tradition, her graphic signs and brushstrokes speak of the controlled compositions of Van Eyck, the fondness for the dark tones and powerful physicality of Goya, the melancholy realism of Van Gogh, and something of Hopper’s suspended world, together with a touch of the Metaphysical. More generally, far from the horizontality of contemporary art, the artist has chosen the path of profundity. She is interested in depth, in both content and form.
The same can be said about her literary preferences
She shares with Landolfi and Pavese, for example, the hope that poetic structure can redeem the disorder and discomfort of existence. She recalls their work in the innate familiarity she has with her characters; even in their anonymity, we feel close to them. Finally, she is also inspired by Chekhov for their grotesque reticence, as she stages their perpetual spinning in circles, and once again gives us a measure of the time we struggle with, but which we have now embodied.
“We are beings who are looked at, in the spectacle of the world,” maintains Lacan, in writing of how a work can look at us. (…)
In its various forms, and in a way that only the most authentic artists are able to bring to light, the work of Beatrice Scaccia constantly questions existence, with its sorrows and daily absurdities. But it never ceases to reason and hold a discourse with its own forms and modes of expression, and never fails to make intimate contact with the viewer.
Image: Call the bluff 11 2016 Pencil, Oil, Gesso & Wax on Paper 60x44inches|152.5x112cm