08.26 — 10.07.23
We’re delighted to announce the opening of Winnetka, Guzzo Pinc’s second exhibition with Devening Projects. The exhibition runs from August 26 – October 7, 2023.
There has always been something deeply immersive about the paintings of Wisconsin-based artist Guzzo Pinc. Whether that stimulating space is a psychedelic swirl of pattern and shape or something more earthy and grounded, he’s always inviting the viewer in, pulling one closer with rich color and tactile surfaces. Regardless of how the pictorial elements are structured this artist invites access—figuratively and visually—and makes it a profound and delightful aspect of his work.
In the past few years, Pinc has developed a particularly euphoric visual language deeply rooted in the patterns and motifs he’s shaped from decades as a painter and deft artist on paper. The swirls mentioned earlier might suggest waves of stylized wheat fields or the rhythmic tracks one might make with a hand in sand. The movement is what’s important. That sway and swing is the dynamic energy that feels driven by sound, a beat or repetitive pulses. Those patterns, whether interpreted visually or aurally, have been the foundational basis for so much of Pinc’s work. How those hypnotic characters are woven into the main subjects of each piece brings the complexity of his subjects forward. They’re also essential to the complex apparatus that pulls one deeper into the zone.
Often a sense of immersion is activated via psychological mechanisms. Driven by the energy produced through rhythm, pattern, contrast, and color, one can’t help but be mesmerized and sucked in by these ecstatic fields of wonder. Always a pleasurable trip, the paintings nevertheless allow the viewer to delight in the space they created from an imagination triggered by intricately woven paintings. Sometimes hovering around and through figures, or laid out more like an intricate tapestry, the patterning is always both a part of the subject and something separate. Like some otherworldly camouflage that works as both a field and a form, it’s a device that always keeps the field unsteady yet thoroughly engrossing.
Recently there’s been a slight shift in Pinc’s notion of space; we can see it clearly in some of the new paintings featured in Winnetka. These new pictorial structures are in fact well-understood and familiar systems for the history and tradition of painting. Scale, perspective, and color intensity are all now fully deployed as devices to activate the image of the suburban landscape. Here we have recognizable—although highly stylized—vistas. Having grown up in Oak Park, Illinois, the bucolic features of quiet tree-lined streets trigger a new sense of contentment. Peaceful and serene, these canvases bring in Paul Bonnard or André Derain as influences. Without sacrificing any of his inherent unruliness, the work fully utilizes picture systems to take us deeper into panoramic locales rich with narrative inference.
As Guzzo writes in his statement about the show: “New Order, The Cure, Duran Duran, Cocteau Twins, The The, etc. New Wave music holds a special place in my heart. To me it is the sound of the suburbs. Long Grove, Glen Crest, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Oak Lawn —Chicagoans know the vibe. For those not from Chicago you can watch the film The Breakfast Club. When I was making the paintings for my upcoming show, one thing I wanted to do is to try to describe the immense feeling of feeling nothing.
Looking back on my notes I see phrases like: “The deep apathy of geometry.” “The pale fluorescent amusement of the suburbs and their caffeinated diversions.” “The intense pathos of feeling nothing.” “The reduction to rationality of all culture: houses, roads, trees, cars, buildings, food, people.” And questions like: “Why was the robotic sound of New Order so moving? Why would an emotionless voice feel more emotional?” “Why did the gothic sadness of The Cure bring so much exhilaration?”
These paintings challenged me. Not because of the feelings I was sorting through, but because I haven’t attempted such a focused theme in my work before. It’s been fun because I have had a chance to nostalgically reflect on a form of music I love and dig into a facet of the environment in which I grew up. I tried my hardest to be serious and nihilistic, like Camus or Robert Smith, but I am too much of a humorist to stick to that plan and at a certain point I looked at my paintings and saw they were a cross between Gerhardt Richter and South Park —which feels just about right.
My paintings may poke holes in the stereotypes we have come to accept about suburban life. I want to satirize many aspects of the “two cars, two kids, and a swimming pool” life plan but I also want to show the beauty, depth, texture, and even tragedy of the little utopias on the outskirts of Chicago (and possibly every American city).”
Guzzo Pinc is an artist who never rests. His work shifts and feints so regularly and resolutely that one could amass several different but fully connected exhibitions. Winnetka looks at a particular vein of interest in this artist’s practice. Whether this passion will sustain remains to be seen. Regardless, the audience is offered an opportunity here to enter—literally—an exciting new vista with potential to carry him and us to even more exciting places.