In his second solo exhibition at Mixed Greens, A.A. Rucci has loosened control over his complex narratives. In this show, he will debut a series of new paintings along with sculptural work. Within the multiple pictorial and spatial contradictions, a more intimate, open narrative has emerged.
A.A. Rucci began as a performance and video/sound artist in the 90s. Over time, his focus changed from live action to painting when he challenged himself to condense the complexity and emotion of a performance into a single image. Thus, Rucci’s paintings embrace the history of central European drama and the operatic stage. Mini-tragedies play out in the wrestling ring, the theater, the forests of the Nibelungen and, most importantly, the home. Like a stage designer or medieval painter, he reduces complex backgrounds and architecture to simplified landscape elements, stripes, flat color and prop-like signifiers. Viewers are given sufficient clues to create their own epic.
In this new body of paintings, Rucci’s naughty, headless characters appear again. However, this time the ground seems to be taking over. In some cases, the actors disappear altogether, leaving looming architectural facades to fill the set. When the figures are replaced with birds, or when the omnipresent stage is reduced entirely to abstraction, there remains a tingle of recognition, expectation and desire. The disappearance of actors makes the viewer the center of attention and the action can now be played out against a backdrop of their choosing. Only the faux wood grain and the title of each painting implies a more specific narrative. For the first time in New York, Rucci will also debut sculptures. A former sense of cool detachment and dramatic irony wanes as Rucci celebrates the audience and actors, as well as the physical stage on which the action of our collective performance is played. Antithetical to expectation, Rucci’s masterfully precise lines, super-saturated, plastic colors and simulated wood-grain combine to create paintings and sculptures that are inviting and human. They evoke landscapes, domestic interiors, and, everyone’s first trip to Orlando, Florida.