7: Steven Parrino, Untitled, 1999
Untitled, 1999. Signed and dated “Steven Parrino ‘99” on the stretcher. acrylic and enamel on slack canvas 24 x 24 3/8 in. (61 x 61.9 cm)
PROVENANCE Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner
Steven Parrino’s unique, single minded avant-garde oeuvre, dating primarily from the 1980s and 1990s and tragically cut short by his untimely death, has often been referred to as a new form of realism in art. At a time when painting was being relegated to the art historical past, Parrino had to literally and metaphorically tear painting apart in order to save it. The realism of Parrino’s art makes the painting itself into an object. Untitled, 1999, is a deformed canvas, executed first by painting a monochromatic crimson square at the center of the raw space, and then pulled forward from the stretcher, aggressively contorted, wrinkled, and crumbled. In its reincarnation, the surface becomes brutally present as it confronts the viewer in a proximity never before imagined. The present lot, Untitled, 1999, in its twisted surface and alluring red pigment, departs from all limitations and boundaries of both painting and sculpture, mass and volume. Here, Parrino presents a canvas which after being cloaked in acrylic and enamel, has literally been pulled and twisted away from the stretcher. The exposed raw canvas along the surrounding edges celebrates and reveals the process. The canvas, which for centuries has been pinned down to rigid wooden beams, has now been freed from restraint, entering an entirely new space. The canvas is both violent and beautiful in its surface rendered of dark scarlet stain inundated with effervescent particles. While it initially challenges and confronts, the suggestive creases and folds, entice the viewer. The violent manner in which it is created is made glamorous by both the vivid color and dazzling surface. Parrino’s canvases visually encompass a pivotal moment in the history of art, and mark the revival and triumph of contemporary painting.