Fantastic voyage: COREY POSTIGLIONE
FROM multiverses down to strings, Corey Postiglione is a cartographer of cosmology. His flat compositions, having strayed from his youthful obsession with minimalism have retained much of its language, or more accurately, formed a dialect of its guidelines. While even the most strident adherent could not (truthfully) deny minimalism’s pictorial tension between line and shape, figure and ground, Mr. Postiglione, too young to have fully embraced the dogma, has gone off the reservation of the blocky and monochromatic and rejected the objectness of minimalism, opting instead for a more poetic, if sparse, mimesis of human vision, complete with its biological limitations and psychological deceits.
IN Lolita, Nabokov describes the wishful thinking of a short-eyes gazing furtively from his darkened window across to a neighbor’s home and the fragment of girlish flesh that appears to have escaped the defensive modesty of the drawn shade. Her thigh moving slowly titillates the viewer until it is revealed as the forearm of a man reading the newspaper. Perception once again hijacked by conception.
MR. Postiglione employs similar devices of shape in his works that often appear as a decorative lattice or a Celtic flourish but reveal themselves, upon closer inspection, as diagrams of pandemic spread or microscopic examinations of nascent pestilence. These are alternated with concentric ellipses that suggest galaxies and constellations, citing in one breath both our mortality and historical affect. This conceit, once revealed, colors his work with a distinct creepiness. Dark Passage, shown here, a lacy shadow play of nettles and nodules, brings to mind a nest of parasitic worms. His Swarm II, 2008, like an illuminated x-ray that shows a forebodingly altered anatomy, produces a distinct queasiness in the average viewer and has the power to send hypochondriacs perspiring from the gallery.
SUCH an appetite of the macabre is not to all tastes, especially when administered in the method of pattern and decoration with a soupçon of formalism, yet these works––drawings for the most part as they make use of a texture that seems natural as opposed to the contrivance of layered painting––are abstract enough to allow us to ignore their augurs. There is a tactile and optical satisfaction that returns them to the realm of abstraction divorced fully from emotion. They rely on elegant line and subtle coloration as bait to seduce the eye and draw the viewer close enough for the sucker punch. In this way the artist becomes what in literature is called an unreliable narrator. Mr. Postiglione visually offers one version then another account of his strategy, first it is form, then content, and yet again form as each work retreats to its original position.
LIKE the forearm of Humbert Humbert's neighbor it appears one thing but reveals itself as another. In Mr. Postiglione’s case we the viewer make the final transition, restoring the view to what we wish it was, the intellectual pleasure of a contemplation of beauty in it most elemental nature; rejecting the fearsome imitation and participation of the real.
Max King Cap