Dino Capaldi & Isabella Cuglievan
Sebastian Gladstone is thrilled to announce a two-person exhibition with the Lima, Peru-based painter Isabella Cuglievan (b. 1993) and the San Pedro, California-based ceramicist Dino Capaldi. The exhibition will open on Saturday, February 19 with an opening reception from 7-10pm, and run through Saturday, March 19. Between processed and material-based practices, both artists use the influence of the natural world, their personal environment, and daily experience to inform an alchemic methodology of production art. The pairing of Cuglievan and Capaldi creates a conversation between the practices where form, color, and abstraction leads to something discernible, yet unknowable and mysterious.
Isabella Cuglievan’s paintings radiate with color and seem to be almost machine-made in their exacting patterns. Their precision emerges from a slow, thoughtful, and hand-painted exercise in the balance of restraint and expression. Deliberately approaching symmetry as a way of moving through a surface rather than an end in itself, allows for the painting to mutate and expand in the process, in a way that echoes the stages of a flower in bloom or the growth of a bird’s feather. The eye cannot fully comprehend the makeup of these wild patterns—the lines seem to vibrate and shake when taken as parts of a whole.
The paintings are influenced by traditional embroidery, weaving and quilting practices from across the globe, but rather than offering direct visual references, they provide an opening, or an elemental motif, from which a pattern can emerge. Cuglievan’s spirited use of color can be in part, attributed to growing up in a city where textile traditions, ancient and new, imbue daily life with energy and light. Likewise, the paintings are used to express Cuglievan’s relationship to her natural environment, allowing fleeting moments in her day to expand from a small thread into an expansive picture.
Dino Capaldi’s (b. 1991) work continues the tradition of process-based ceramics while developing a wholly new approach to the medium that pushes the material boundaries of fired sculpture. A recent graduate of UC Davis, Capaldi’s new works delve deep into abstracted forms that evoke plant life, sea creatures, The Sunken City, and psychedelic visions. The range of materials, textures, surfaces, and colors vary widely, yet all the works fit precisely in Capaldi’s unique language of dimensional form. In Creature Vessel, the viewer is presented with a seemingly organic form which is both alien in nature and familiar in its shapes, coloring and degradation–colors shift and ooze in and out of fissures, and up and around knobs, piles and bevels. The glossy hardened sculpture seems stuck in a moment of collapse, on the verge of completely melting into a puddle yet stable and firm.
The alternative methods Capaldi uses are reminiscent of material-based ceramic artists such as Ken Price and Ron Nagle, whose use of surrogate methods probed the boundaries of possibility within the ceramic medium to create objects that approach the sublime. Through his sculptures, Capaldi brings the viewer along on a process of discovery and failure into the unknown through a continued adjustment of variables within the operational parameters of the practice. Actions such as glaze recipe changes, shock cooling, and over-firing are used to continually push the sculptures to the edge of legibility and acceptability. With all of these shifts in form, color, and process there is still a strong through-line in Capaldi’s work, which shows itself as a spiritual relationship with the natural world, as his works pay homage to the sublimity of nature and its creations.