LAYERING HISTORY WITH ANGELO ACCARDI
Angelo Accardi explores the Contemporary moment using the History of Art
One of the newest faces in neo-surrealism, Angelo Accardi is building his paintings, not with colors and shapes, but with symbols. How? Layering historic works of art laden with meaning, Accardi invokes more than the beauty of his talented hand and encourages audience participation to understand these intriguing works in the contemporary environment.
Accardi’s later works have the feeling of like a curated experience in an art gallery, where he juxtaposes paintings as if to compare their whole histories with one another, sometimes including symbolic characters like Homer Simpson and a likeness of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un in works like “HOME SOLDIER” in order to connect America and North Korea, you can see Donald Trump’s alleged “small hands” and even smaller penis beneath a North Korean uniformed, orange-skinned feminine figure. Accardi doesn’t shy away from politics, but he, like so many before him, uses his art suggestively, egging on his viewer to make the connection. Why is there an orange woman with a penis in a North Korean uniform on the wall during what seems to be a military exercise? Why is Homer Simpson next to him? Accardi doesn’t give answers, and that’s what’s so exciting about his work. He’s not pushing an agenda or starting a revolution, though his works are deeply political. Instead, he seems to be asking the same questions- what does it all mean when you place events in history side by side with events of today?
He references artists that range from the Early masters like Rembrandt all the way to Contemporary Pop Artists like Takashi Murakami, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, and David Hockney, but remains firmly in the surrealist tradition, making it distinctly his own. Surrealism began as an artistic endeavor to release creative potential in unconscious minds, for example, by the irrational juxtaposition of images. Accardi flips it. His images are chosen very carefully and juxtaposed in order to encourage audience participation. He creates narratives in his works that elevate his paintings into metaphors and stories.
There are paintings that you look at and paintings that become a part of you, and then, there are works of art so compelling that you actually become an active participant in them. Accardi finds a way to drag his audience into each of his pieces, creating the feeling of walking around in an art gallery, though it’s only one work. Maybe what he’s doing is asking us to pay attention, a whole world of connections waits to be found all around us.