The Execution of Maximilian: Border PaintingsExhibition | G.T. Pellizzi By Ryan Steadman
A Mexican-American art clash.
Six months after an impressive solo debut at NYC's Y Gallery, G.T. Pellizzi returns with an unlikely collaborator, the underappreciated '80s expressionist Ray Smith. Pelizzi and Smith re-imagine action-painting via twenty artworks that they've symbolically placed behind rows of paint cans and then shot with bullets -execution style - during two trips to the Mexican-American border of Texas in 2011-12. The result is an exquisite yet morbid rumination on the brutal history of border control in Mexico, where both artists have strong cultural ties. Violent, fizzy splatters of pink, mint green, and crimson saturate these found wooden structures, consisting of plywood panels, a wooden fence, a freestanding corner-piece, and a low-lying box the size of a human figure.
Pellizzi has a knack for infusing both transnational and art history into his work, and allusions to artists as diverse as Edouard Manet and Jackson Pollock steep this exhibition in the languages of his artistic predecessors. Pellizzi and Smith's visual metaphor for the repeated assaults on these Mexican towns, which span a period from Napoleon III's puppet regime up through our current war on drugs, pioneers a new direction for political art that shrewdly evades mundane illustration in favor of poetic experimentalism.
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