Anna Zorina Gallery, in collaboration with Mary Boone Gallery, is pleased to present Red Carpet, a solo exhibition featuring the paintings of Alexander Kaletski. The artist’s latest body of work captures his unique peripheral perspective on an American culture fueled by celebrities, fame and red carpet iconicity. The work, although riddled with underlying commentary, evades severe conceptualism - a testament to Kaletski’s sly wit and refined artistry. This series of paintings transcends prior technical and compositional innovations made by the artist over his forty-year career.
The artist’s formative years were spent in Soviet Russia where red embodied authority. The color was used pervasively in the propaganda devoted to Communist ideology and nationalism as a way of depicting dictators with an aura of distinction and dominance. Constantly surrounded by slogans and flags, Alexander grew bitter toward the ubiquitous color.
Upon moving to America, the color took on a different meaning. Red no longer represented dictatorship, but instead symbolized entertainment, sexuality and glamour. With humor, the artist now comments on the influence of power on humanity while referencing a fickle media industry that manufactures stars and supports cultural fabrications. Kaletski’s work not only suggests the obvious references to fame, fortune and luxury; but also confronts the viewer with an opposing perception of mainstream media. The vanishing red carpet that traverses each work is dually suggestive of a journey to nowhere or the entrance into a desirable lifestyle of success. The viewer is compelled to question the significance of Woody Allen, Moses, Stalin, and Marilyn Monroe being presented on the same volatile stage.
The artist credits this present approach to a synthesis of thematic discoveries from previous works. Red Carpet is in many ways a product of technical inventions made in his White Rain series and the spontaneous, light-hearted methodology and concept inherent in his Cardboard People works. In relating the two series, Kaletski has produced a unique collection of paintings that are thought-provoking and technically complex.
After decades of living in New York, Kaletski no longer sees red as solely indicative of political sentiments, but more profoundly as a celebration of American optimism. His new red emphasizes both the achievement of success as well as the contingencies of life on a pedestal.
The new work by Alexander Kaletski will be on view through December 20 in concurrent exhibitions at Anna Zorina Gallery in Chelsea and Mary Boone Gallery at 745 Fifth Avenue.