DCKT Contemporary is pleased to present MICHAEL VELLIQUETTE’s second New York solo exhibition. VELLIQUETTE hand cuts and glues paper cardstock into complex dimensional assemblages reminiscent of the interiors of large-scale pop-up books or mosaics in high relief. In his current body of work Velliquette returns once again to garden and jungle settings where humorous and visually dense paper tableaux are populated with animistic spirits, beasts, goons and gods.
VELLIQUETTE’s primary material – commercially colored cardstock – has been made more available in recent years due to the rise in popularity of scrap-booking culture and the greater renaissance of the do-it-yourself home crafting movement. His interest in paper-crafting media evolves from of a background in mixed-media sculpture and installation where cardstock and other colored papers were often a component.
Clown Beast, Humbaba and Sleepy Bunny present offbeat characters as straightforward portraits. They are vaguely mythological, sometimes Muppet-like, both fierce and friendly and are concerned with the dynamics of familiarity and otherness. In Little Friends and The Midnight Creeper Society, armies of tiny paper beings hide in a sea of black paper foliage. With their wild and quizzical looks they seem to stare, taunt and warn.
The panoramic, eight-foot wide Grazing Ground and Abundant Creatures are inspired by ancient frescoes found on the Greek island of Santorini. Each work depicts an Arcadian paradise where menageries of imaginary wildlife cohabitate in utopian splendor.
Two vertical Towers venture into ever-increasing levels of detail and dimensionality. Each work takes visual cues from indigenous and folk arts of varied world cultures as a means of integrating abstract figuration and transcendental themes. They allow VELLIQUETTE to indulge in his unmitigated enthusiasm for shape and color and also gesture toward devotional ornamentation.