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Vanessa Conte

Vanessa Conte, Sprawler, 2016.Courtesy: the artist and Ginerva Gambino, Cologne

Vanessa Conte, Sprawler, 2016.Courtesy: the artist and Ginerva Gambino, Cologne


Ginerva Gambino is pleased to announce their first participation in Frieze London with a solo presentation of works by American painter and writer Vanessa Conte that juxtaposes works from two series. While Conte’s acrylic paintings on canvas are of bikes, her graphite drawings on paper depict explicitly violent scenes that can be linked to corporal- punishment-fiction.

Reminiscent of 1920’s Magic Realism, Conte’s “bike paintings” show ordinary objects that are emblematic of domestic life but whose shape and surrounding seem as if viewed through a fisheye, real objects that take on surreal forms and almost fleshlike qualities through Conte’s cartoon style and chosen color palette. Her drawings on the other hand depict violence and anxiety in an exaggerated, sexualized way, placing these actions outside of reality. Her protagonists’ bodies are deformed and distorted not only visually but through physical impact. Both subjects, the bikes and the women, remain forever passive and objectified. A circumstance they themselves seem to not yet be capable of reflecting.

Objects that could trigger unknown fantasies have been a recurring theme in Conte‘s work. Her paintings and drawings can be read as an exploration of their materiality and its potential. Both series deal with the body as rendered material and define the artist’s practice as a means to understand what “body” is.

Vanessa Conte (b. 1977 in Yonkers, New York) lives and works in Glendale, California. She holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MA in Linguistics from Cal State University in Long Beach. Conte‘s work has been shown at JB Jurve, Los Angeles; Hester Gallery, New York; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Ginerva Gambino, Cologne; Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles; Delmes & Zander, Cologne et.al.

Conte published several short stories of corporal punishment fiction using pseudonyms, before releasing “Cures for Pouting Girls” (New York, 2016), under her own name. Her next publication, coming out this fall and published by Random Man Editions, will consist of a selection of her latest graphite drawings.