LAUNCH LA is proud to present Terra Incognita, a new exhibition by Bryan Ricci. Richly textured and brightly hued, Terra Incognita is an exploration of new territory in abstraction, coaxing the immaterial form of memory and time into the tangible universe of paint and canvas.
For Ricci, the process of applying paint “works as metaphor for the way memory is constructed”. The bare canvas represents an actual lived experience, while each successive layer of paint represents a segment of time that has passed between the original incident and the present. As each layer of paint is applied, the original scene is more and more abstracted and distorted. The natural deterioration of memories takes its toll, and so too does the warping effect of the unconscious mind as it attempts to fill the gaps. As the emotional significance of the memory changes, so does the image – new details begin to accumulate over the first few layers as the detritus of each passing moment. When older details of Ricci’s paintings are blotted out entirely by something new, it is as if a memory has been suppressed or altered to suit present circumstances. At the end of this process, we are left with nothing resembling the ‘truth’ of the moment far beneath the sculpted landscape of paint. We do however get an engaging piece of abstract art.
The paintings in Terra Incognita are as visually intriguing as they are conceptually rich. Some of Ricci’s paintings bear a resemblance to the work of the Irish painter Jack B. Yeats – seemingly unintended shapes and figures emerge from the paint daubs as our mind searches out the familiar. These scenes could however also be extremes of perspective, like macro shots of Ricci’s earlier pointillistic, figurative paintings or blurry satellite imagery of the surface of some uncharted world. The effect of each painting varies greatly: some are subdued in their choice of colours and orderly composition, while others are painted in broad swaths of paint and explode with the force and brilliance of big picture special effects.
More than Terra Incognita obscures the truth it reveals a fundamental fact: what has come and gone does not remain static, frozen as it was at the moment that we last perceived it – our memories are moving toward an unknown future.