Gianni Politi's second solo exhibition, In the Belly of the Serpent, features abstract paintings and Da Vinci-esque portraits on canvas.
Hanging in the large gallery are five giant abstract canvases which are the result of several years of work. Recently described by art critic Roberta Smith on the New York Times as "striking", these new canvases are made using painted cuts of canvas with oil paint. As Politi says, he is challenging the medium of painting and attempting to find its limits as a means of expression. Like a set of Chinese nested boxes, Politi's paintings move from a body of work to the next, employing the ever evolving materials of his studio to attain new formal solutions. Politi's portrait paintings, with their Leonardesque quality, come from his studies of a 1770 painting by the Neoclassical painter Gaetano Gandolfi. Browsing through art catalogues, Politi was struck by Gandolfi's Study of a Bearded Man which reminded him of his father, who passed away at the age of 78, when the artist was 16 years old.
With the recent birth of Politi’s daughter, these paintings have now increased in intensity and resonance for the artist. He explains this emotional charge as a way of better understanding his connection to the image as a symbol of fatherhood. Attached to each of the paintings is a small bronze sculpture, cast by Politi, representing an ouroboros, the ancient emblem of a snake holding its own tail – a reference to eternity and the cycle of life.