After Twenty Years
VITO SCHNABEL GALLERY, OLD SANTA MONICA POST OFFICE
THROUGH JANUARY 16, 2022
With the reemergence of figurative art in New York City in the early eighties, painters like David Salle, Jean-Michael Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, and Eric Fischl were commanding attention and enormous prices with their new approach to storytelling. When Italian-born Francesco Clemente arrived on the scene, he was quickly identified as part of the Neo-Expressionists, but his paintings really stood apart for their lyrical qualities. Whereas many of his contemporaries were bombastic, Clemente explored subjects inspired by his trips to India, incorporating spiritual imagery into paintings that were full of symbolism. In the recently renovated Old Santa Monica Post Office, the quiet poignancy of Clemente’s work benefits from their surroundings. Like any good stage design, the re-purposed WPA-era building frames the action and sets the mood, enhancing Clemente’s jewel-toned images. Nearly 30 paintings are on view, most created since the last time he exhibited in Los Angeles almost twenty years ago.