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Ali Banisadr, David Pettibone and Mary Raap

New York Academy of Art
111 Franklin Street, 212.966.0300
Tribeca / Downtown
October 1 - October 26, 2008
Web Site

New York Academy of Art is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Ali Banisadr, David Pettibone and Mary Raap, the three artists who were awarded Postgraduate Fellowships at the New York Academy of Art for the 2007-08 academic year. The powerful group of paintings that emerged from residencey at the Academy will be on view from October 1st through October 26th.

The annual Fellows’ Exhibition at the Academy is a candid glimpse at three emerging artists, each a recent exceptional student , invited to spend an additional year working at the Academy’s studios, and encouraged to develop a body of new work that is truly their own. This exhibition further illuminates that each painter possesses a singular, completely contemporary vision of the medium and its possibilities.

Armed with the same instruction in artistic anatomy, perspective, and the history of the craft of oil painting, each remains a “figurative painter” retaining a visceral connection to the human body. Each artist must work within the transcendent and limiting parameters of his or her own body as the vehicle of thought and painterly action, but venture further to consider, desire, and know the bodies of others both observed and imagined, from dreams, memories, history and direct scrutiny.

Ali Banisadr’s lush landscapes straddle representation and abstraction as well as universes past, present and parallel. Seductively riveting in their expressionistic painterliness, they invite the viewer to lean in and look closely. The viewer may be surprised as the images begin to surface; at first explosive, they become ecstatic and dissolving. Each piece indicates many potentialities, some pleasant, some not, and combined is the kind of artistic endeavor that is rife with impending interpretations but is never vague or stuttering.

Mary Raap approaches the canvas less directly and with a slow and careful concern, if not obsession, with its skin-like surface. This metaphoric understanding of the epidermal layers of paint provides her with a methodology and a subject. As with Banisadr’s work, the narrative found in Raap’s art is based in various measures on forms, shapes and rendered objects that guide us toward something we find familiar – in her case domestic objects, lists, gates, and the performance of the painter through gesture and exquisitely sensuous touch.

David Pettibone takes a direct view of the human condition, posing models – individuals, really – in his intimate studio. He spends hours and hours with his enormous canvases and his subjects, observing the life within each and observing everything he can of the surface of things too. These works could be described as “un-heroic” in the best sense; it is extremely affectionate, and we too feel close to his sitters as we slide across his lush painted illusions of cloth, flesh, and sky. Empathy is his preferred medium, it seems.
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