Ben La Rocco’s Saturnalia

In “Saturn’s Gates,” his first solo show at Slag in Bushwick, Ben La Rocco presents a new series of large-scale paintings on Masonite, most casually leaning against the walls, except for a large painted tarp that hangs loosely, outfitted with slits and dangling ropes, from the ceiling. In the studio, La Rocco doesn’t travel a linear path, and so naturally this work is a departure from his previous shows with Janet Kurnatowski, the longtime Greenpoint gallerist who represented him until she closed at the end of the summer. 
to the press release, La Rocco, who is also an editor-at-large for The Brooklyn Rail, is thinking about weighty,
philosophical themes, such as time, birth, matter, and light. “Masonite, a common utilitarian board, functions as a
symbol for foundation, which he then uses as a surface to explore
aspects of human consciousness through his work with color and line.” Referencing both the planet and the Roman god, the paintings in “Saturn’s Gate” have an urgency — agitated, imaginative, and most of all sincere.
[Image at top: Ben La Rocco, installation view, at Slag]

Ben La Rocco, For Monet, 2015, mixed media on Masonite, 96 x 96 inches.

Ben La Rocco, Degrees Of Darkness And Light, 2015, mixed media on Masonite, 96 x 96 inches.

Ben La Rocco, Thrones, 2015, mixed media on Masonite, 96 x 96 inches.

Ben La Rocco, Double Birth, 2014 mixed media on Masonite, 96 x 44 inches.

Ben La Rocco: Saturn’s Gates,” Slag, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. Through December 13, 2015.

Related posts:
Last Chance: Idiot’s Delight at Janet Kurnatowski

Where the paintings are


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One Comment

  1. Nice post. I like La Rocco's earnest gravity. There's some self-aware levity in his work, so it's not sanctimonious. At the same time, it doesn't default to hipster cynicism.

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