ANTHONY KEITH GIANNINI
Crossing the Line
6 September - 5 October

"Drawing on various models of appropriation—Max Ernst, Vernon Fisher, Leon Golub, Sigmar Polke, and James Rosenquist are touchstones—Anthony Giannini fragments and recombines found images, frequently pushing his sources to the limits of recognizability while opening up spaces of associative projection for the viewer.

In this sequence of paintings, Giannini works with images from digital archives documenting a nautical initiation rite, the line-crossing ceremony, which marks a sailor’s first passage across the Equator. Using a complex improvisational process involving image manipulation software, toner transfer, and wet sanding, Giannini selects and distorts elements from these pictures, and combines them with motifs found elsewhere, such as a photograph of an Apollo command module following splashdown, and a toothpaste advertisement that spells “it works” in toothpaste. Much of this imagery, as well as the collaged look of the paintings, evokes the middle decades of the twentieth century, but other aspects of the work pull us further back in time...

... How could we not be reminded of traumatic, widely circulating images from the recent past when we look at Giannini’s paintings? Chair-bound or otherwise incapacitated figures, on the cusp of being manipulated in some way, including by forced immersion in water, summon Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and Zero Dark Thirty. The pictures are not so much a critique of “enhanced interrogation techniques”—what is left to critique?—as an exploration of the destabilizing effects of consuming the torture era’s visual and textual culture. Giannini invites us to linger in that space of uncertainty where doubt corrodes trust in official institutions, where language turns into sinister doublespeak, and where boundaries, once imagined as solid, dissolve before our eyes."

Excerpt from "Anthony Keith Giannini: Blurring the Line" written by Daniel Harkett.

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DANIEL HARKETT is Associate Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design. He writes mainly about early nineteenth-century French visual culture and has published essays on Jacques-Louis David’s exhibition practice, Louis Daguerre’s Diorama, and human display in the context of a giraffe craze.

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ANTHONY KEITH GIANNINI is an artist based in Providence, RI and recently received his MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design (2012). Giannini has participated in various solo and group exhibitions internationally, most notably at The Pace Gallery, NYC (group), Betterer. Haderer. Fasterer. Strongerer. 2012 Brucennial by The Bruce High Quality Foundation, NYC (group) and at Trailer Park Proyects in Puerto Rico (solo). His work was also featured at the Art Dubai art fair in 2011.
 
 
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