Nicholas Di Genova – Preemptive Evolution
Nicholas Di Genova has developed a unique practice that is as firmly rooted in the utterly fantastical as it is in the deeply scientific. His depictions of hybrid creatures examine wildlife illustration through a Sci-fi lens. Di Genova’s highly detailed, and often encyclopaedic investigations of the natural world, yield monstrosities that are the most unlikely of amalgamations – these can be, for instance, a fusion of cat, goat and snake with cormorant, or tortoise merging into carnivorous plant and even a toad with eight, tentacle-like tongues. His depictions are obviously imagined; but Di Genova’s illustrative precision, makes these Audubon caricatures almost plausible.
His materials are simple; he looks to the conventions of analogue animation, which employs gouache paint on Mylar, or the very basic approach of ink on paper. But Di Genova pushes line-work and a compact colour palette to the extreme; his seamless and fluid application of medium is in the service of an unparalleled intricacy of image. From the tiniest black and white elements (which can be a mere couple of centimetres square) to the robu
st and colourful, full-sized works, Di Genova’s articulation of shape and texture is nothing short of masterful.
For this exhibition the artist presents a new work entitled10,000 Vertebrates which takes the form of a genus grid comprising 10,000 micro-portraits – perhaps a periodic table of this morphed and grotesque animal species. This particular work is pivotal; certainly because it embodies Di Genova’s relentless capacity for minutiae and detail but moreover, it gives reference to the research back story of his practice. From books, the internet, film and television – this is a practice contingent on mining a diversity of source materials, from factual to absolutely fiction. Not merely a random selection of beaks, claws, fangs, feathers, fur and scales, these creatures are built conceptually first – each telling a distinctive story that is equal parts biology and mythology.
William Huffman, Toronto, July 2011
William Huffman is an visual arts educator, writer and curator based in Toronto, Canada. He currently holds the post of Associate Director at Toronto Arts Council.
Nicholas Di Genova
November 11 – December 3, 2011
Opening: November 10, 2011 / 6 – 9 pm