This Artist Creates Fascinating Work That Literally Comes Off the Wall
John Dante Bianchi’s art is both architectural and ethereal
By Carrie Hojnicki, January 3, 2017
Part painting, part sculpture, wholly intriguing, the work of Brooklyn-based artist John Dante Bianchi escapes classification in about as many categories as one can muster. Showing through January 22 at Manhattan’s Denny Gallery, Bianchi’s “Unavoidable Encounter” presents a series of meticulously crafted wall panels and floor sculptures that defy classification and invite imagination with ephemeral patinas, contorted forms, and illusive materials.
“It’s not whether it’s a painting or a sculpture,” Bianchi explained on the eve of the show’s December opening. “It’s about how one form can transform into something else and become its own sovereign form that isn’t tied to any one reference or idea. I’ve really always loved things that are in between states, that are transforming or becoming something else.”
An installation view of “Unavoidable Encounter” at Denny Gallery.
Such transformations are evident throughout this exhibition. For the show’s hallmark works, a series of three torqued wall sculptures, Bianchi contorts metallic sheets with origami-like precision (in part referencing his early career making architectural models of retractable stadium roofs) over bare wooden stretchers. Bianchi then spray-paints and sands the panels—a process he repeats many times over—to produce a bruised effect, itself embodying a corporeal transformation.
“The bruise is a process of healing, turning one thing into another. Here, these actions are frozen in a moment,” explained Bianchi. “There’s also this idea of reverse-engineering trauma into a transformative and ultimately growth-oriented process.”
Not to mention, Bianchi’s own work itself has been evolving for years. The Yale-educated artist has long been fascinated by the process of morphing space, though his wall panels represent the most nascent of these explorations: “It’s a very new endeavor for me, making these more traditional wall-hanging sculptures. Manipulating space has always been my primary interest as a sculptor, and I think that is sort of my superpower still, but now it’s been channeled into these singular objects.”
“Unavoidable Encounter” is on view through January 22 at Denny Gallery, 261 Broome Street, New York.