Gallery 151 is pleased to present Paradise City, an exhibition featuring John Grande’s newest series of paintings, inspired by the organic compositions created from decaying advertisements lining the New York City streets. John Grande became fascinated with what he refers to as “the city’s modern day cave paintings” in 2016 and has dedicated his creative practice to bringing these compositions to life. The dialogue created by both residual deterioration and blanketed layers, left behind by years of placing and tearing down wheatpaste posters and stapled flyers against construction dividers, results in its own language, unique to the constant turnaround in New York City.
Gallery 151 will showcase Grande’s paintings in enamel, oil, industrial, and spray paint to illustrate a unique, photorealistic perspective on urban landscapes in the current period of both industrial and multimedia abundance. Additionally, Paradise City will capture these insights not only in pigment but with found objects from the landscape itself. In October, Paradise City will feature an ongoing evolving augmented reality (AR) experience created by Wallplay, utilizing Blippar’s technology to transform the gallery walls into the construction dividers where the paintings were originally discovered. Gallery goers will encounter the layered advertisements that influenced Grande’s paintings in three dimensions.
In the overwhelming, distracting environment created by growth in technology and saturation of marketing, many ignore their surroundings while walking through the city streets. In Paradise City, John Grande exhibits the messages of the metropolis, hidden in plain sight, through the lens of his paintbrush. He gives a platform to these overlooked narratives by exposing the compositional quality of worn urban advertisements layering the city’s capitalist canvas. By capturing transient moments, Grande’s works explore the language advertisements have with one another and give context to their time.
John Grande (b.1969, New York) received his BFA in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Grande is most interested in the construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of popular and contemporary culture in a multimedia world. Grande often includes hyperreal representations of people, luxury brands, and advertisements as a type of symbolic iconography, illustrating wider musings about culture today. Grande’s work has been shown and collected worldwide, from India to Switzerland, Mexico to Korea, and all over the United States.