about the exhibition
New Works 06.1
Augusto Di Stefano
San Antonio, TX
March 08–May 07, 2006about the artist
Whether working with paint or pencil, Augusto Di Stefano uses stark, deliberate marks to register boundaries that are as psychological as they are physical. In his paintings, thick impasto inches across saturated canvases that have been continually sprayed and sanded. In his drawings, similarly labor-intensive pencil strokes are tirelessly repeated to create structures resembling defensive walls. Di Stefano’s works utilize paint’s sculptural potential and the gravity of singular marks to investigate actual and emotional barriers.
Di Stefano has historically exhibited variously-sized monochromatic paintings. In recent years he has begun presenting drawings simultaneously realized on portfolio paper, which he unstitches from its binding. Rather than drafts for his contemplative abstract paintings, the colder drawings of architectural fragments are works in their own right. Articulated with razor-sharp graphite on white, the detached images are softened by the intimate, book-like nature of still-creased paper.
Born in New York, NY in 1966, Augusto Di Stefano received his MFA from The University of Texas at San Antonio, TX in 1999, and continues to live and work in San Antonio. Solo exhibitions include Patricia Faure Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (2002) and Finesilver Gallery, San Antonio, TX (2002). Group exhibitions include Decelerate, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO (2006); Altoids Curiously Strong Collection, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY (2005); Mental Maps, Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, New York, NY (2005); and Come Forward, Dallas Museum of Art, TX (2003).
about the project
Through paintings, drawings, and, for the first time, print, Augusto Di Stefano continues to explore processed and gestural marks that slip between geometric abstraction and strangely lone structures. The various works, installed in a semicircular arrangement, encourage both connections and distinctions.
In Di Stefano’s paintings, the solitude of flawlessly coated backgrounds is broken by destabilized subjects that hover and shift tone with perspective. Untitled features a coal-colored pentagon laying in a field of deep grey. Heavy with the emotional residue of the artist’s hand, thick black finger-like gestures are contained by the shape, their movement alluding to the space beyond. In Table, mustard yellow is interrupted by a creamy green shaft that descends from an imperceptible start. Gaining synthetic strength as it appears more firm, the rod empties into a rectangle that, itself ultimately fades away.
Framed drawings, minimally rendered like the canvases, hang across the gallery on unbound signature sheets. While persisting with ideas of inside versus outside, the paper works move further from the gestural to rigid, produced forms. Meticulously faint and grave strokes articulate floating pieces of architectural plans or modular units, suggesting an ethereality that belies the referents’ durable nature.
A color print, partly drawn and computer-generated, advances Di Stefano’s inquiries. Against a white background a densely filled shape decays on one side, combining the saturation of the paintings, the solidity of their gestures, and the vulnerability of the drawings. Elegant yet exposed, the unyielding object betrays its insecurities.