Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present Paolo Arao: Fornever, an exhibition of charcoal and graphite drawings.
Arao’s drawings unfold in a cinematic-like narrative. Religious imagery, intimate portraits, artifacts of battle and depictions of crowds at rock concerts frame a narrative alluding to both ritualistic experiences and idolization.
In Neon Mary, the head of a statue peers downward, seemingly lit from behind with neon tubing. Simultaneously personal and impersonal, this icon could be a roadside shrine, or one of hundreds of statues of Mary that fill a shop selling religious mementos.
Light Leaves features the lead singer of a band on stage before an adoring crowd, with a spotlight almost washing him out. In The Same Deep Water, a young man stands near the ocean’s edge while a wave is about to break. These drawings suggest a before and after sequence, but the order of events is open to question.
There is a wistful and searching quality in Arao’s drawings and the varied images seem to come from a slew of personal memories or experiences. The stark contrast of velvety charcoal on white paper evokes an almost photographic effect. The drawings, taken as a whole, seem to form an album of images, capturing a time that may have passed, or is imagined to come.
This is Paolo Arao’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. He received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2000. Arao’s work has been exhibited in group shows in New York at The Drawing Center, the Bronx Museum for the Arts, Socrates Sculptures Park and Sculpture Center, Rental Gallery; and at Madder Gallery in London. He is a member of the New York band Catjaw. Arao lives and works in New York.