RomeTrey Abdella: In the Neighborhood
T293 presents In The Neighborhood, the second solo exhibition at the gallery by New York based artist Trey Abdella. A new series of large-format canvases is on display.
In The Neighborhood is conceived by the artist as a journey through his childhood and coming of age experiences. The works portray mundane but nonetheless memorable situations that Abdella has lived while growing up in the suburbs of West Virginia. Overworking a job to pay the rent, recording a movie inside the cinema, being crushed down at a concert or reading Playboy at school are simple facts but they inevitably impact on an adolescent’s growth and future memory.
By drawing inspiration from ordinary life events, the paintings somehow turn out to be extremely relatable, so much that the viewer feels a certain familiarity with them. Abdella teases our sensibility by first making us feel compassionate about the characters of his paintings, but at the end he shatters their finale. The autobiographical narrative is alternated by the fantastic, sometimes monstrous, imagery that the artist depicts.
Abdella oversaturates his paintings with influences from pop culture, hyper-realism and cartoons, constructing a very personal narrative, which became his very signature. On the constant search of new materials, Abdella challenges himself in looking for new ways of making paintings. In this new series, the artist inserts textures, ready-made objects, such as LED lights and a functioning clock system into the canvases, creating new and unexpected sculptural effects.
Playing down tragic moments by making them visually delightful is one of the most significant characteristics of Abdella’s practice and approach to painting. The well-known sentence “What in life does us annoy, We in picture do enjoy” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe appears at this point as the most appropriate description for Abdella’s new works, which can be experienced as a pleasing but nonetheless bittersweet stroll in the neighborhood of one’s own youth.
Trey Abdella, in the Neighborhood, exhibition view at T293, Rome, 8 May - 11 June 2021. Photo by Daniele Molajoli