The Galería Javier López and the Galería Senda are showing the work of Michael Bevilacqua (b. Carmel, California, 1966) for the first time in Spain. One of the most significant artists currently on the scene in New York, his work is a fresh take on pop culture, combining rock music, luxury brands, advertising and psychedelic colours to achieve an art that is both personal and absolutely contemporary.
An heir to the traditions of Pop Art, Bevilacqua manages to fuse his own enthusiasm for mass-culture consumerism with a careful study of Modern Painting. His pictorial style is highly individual and combines the aesthetics of commercial art and figurative painting to bring a new language to abstraction.
His works incorporate logos, symbols and fragments drawn from the world of music, fashion, cinema, television, advertising and contemporary art, recalling and reclaiming elements from his Seventies childhood (cartoons and television series). However, unlike Pop Art, which emphasised flat surfaces, Bevilacqua’s compositions are structured through layers which give depth to the views. As he has stated, “my works are a visual diary of what is going on in my life at that time in space”, and his artistic influences, especially the music that he listens to, play a huge part. Yet this collage of dates, logos and songs is just one aspect of Michael Bevilacqua’s creative process. The most striking thing about his paintings, apart from his intelligent use of colour and form, is his unique ability to create cosmopolitan and imaginary landscapes. Normally his works start as a blank canvas where images pile up until they attain balance, but in this instance the process has actually been the reverse.
The Rogue, the site-specific show that he is presenting here, takes its name from a canvas that was part of a previous exhibition. The artist decided to keep it in order to use it as a centre around which to create, producing a complete installation, which comprises silkscreened wallpaper, work on canvas and work on paper. “I thought it would be interesting to take a single painting and build the show around it. The Rogue is a fictitious character that goes deep into my psyche. The image is a hybrid of an Anti-Absinthe ad, a photograph of myself and graphics from a French Absinthe poster.”
Michael Bevilacqua studied at the Cambridge College of Art and Technology and Long Beach State University, California. His most recent solo exhibitions include shows at galleries and museums in Tokyo (2002), Copenhagen (2005 and 2007), Milan (2007), Beijing (2008) and New York (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009).