MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique is very pleased to present B&W Narcissus, Rob Pruitt’s tenth solo exhibition with MASSIMODECARLO, and first at Pièce Unique.
With B&W Narcissus, Rob Pruitt invests the entire gallery space with one work, composed of multiple elements: one sculpture, one painting and one wallpaper installation.
Pièce Unique becomes a black and white panda rabbit hole, where each element of the work responds and amplifies the other: from the 3D, black and white sculpture, to the two-dimensional painting, to the wallpaper plastered flat on the wall itself, Pruitt addresses the notion of narcissism radically, both formally and figuratively.
Who is Narcissus in the narrative construct at the heart of the exhibition? He asks.
Is it the bear gazing at the painting representation of its own coat? A mosaic of black and white depictions of pandas at play, at rest, eating and sleeping as well as the occasional glimpse of panda sex cover the walls of Pièce Unique?
Or is it the artist ticking off the greatest hits of a 3 decade long commitment to a subject matter that is at once kitschy and cute and tragically doomed by mankind’s abuse of the planet Earth.
The answer is probably both.
Endlessly munching bamboo seems to have induced a trance like self reflection, self satisfaction. This visually immersive dioramic installation is about, but not limited to, camouflage and its relationship to survival in the wild, and the artist’s ego; the ark of an artist career, and the inevitable self cannibalizing of subject matter.
Pruitt’s takeover of the gallery thus transcends the limits of the individual elements that compose it, reflecting, repeating and mimicking one another.
Rob Pruitt was born in Washington D.C. in 1964 and studied at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C. and Parsons School of Design in New York. He lives and works in New York.
Since the early 1990s, Rob Pruitt’s risk-taking investigations into American popular culture have taken many forms. From his notorious Cocaine Buffet (1998) and glitter portraits of Pandas or the significant Suicide Paintings series, Pruitt’s works are a surreal and extravagant interpretation of the pop world, a kaleidoscopic look towards mass culture by exploring the multiples aspects and the paradoxes of our present time.
Throughout his career, Rob Pruitt has fine-tuned his ability to express nuanced ideas about culture and society through the re-interpretation of common objects and materials, all filtered through a sense of humour and irony. With his Mask series, the artist continues his pursuit of depicting the complexities of personality and emotions. The facial gestures indeed are cut into the canvas with a razor - destructive and creative at the same time, these gestures are married to an accumulation of gradients, patterns, and prints to create a character