Stux Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of paintings by Nicola Verlato. Verlato, a New York based artist who was born and raised in Verona, Italy, is as much influenced by the renaissance and baroque masters such as Durer and Rubens, as he is by popular animation, comic books and Disney classics. The artist has created for this exhibition a suite of oil on canvas paintings centered on an Americanized female witch protagonist and her coven (a grouping of witches) that wreak havoc on the unsuspecting townspeople of generic American cities.
In these paintings, the artist attempts to realize the “unreal” in his use of mythical references. Utilizing witches to explore the depths of sexuality, mysticism and power, the paintings are composed as conceptual cinematic storyboards and tell a story from multiple points of view. Invoking, at times, sexually explicit subject matter, the artist, who looks to a wide range of popular culture sources for visual inspiration including high-tech “first-person shooter” video gaming, renders a seemingly post-apocalyptic view of American society.
Nicola’s painting process is multifaceted, and begins with the central female protagonist that appears in the majority of these works. The model for this central witch character is the famed performance avatar Julie Atlas Muz. Verlato painstakingly creates an escalating complex set of drawings, and then sculpts them into clay models to decipher their extremely complex perspective. Ms. Muz is then asked to "act" in response to the models and sketches, Verlato modifying his sketches with the added information obtained from her interpretations. The resulting works are mesmerizing in their clarity, surprise elements and vivid detail, capturing complex narrative elements in a baroque style.