(Left) Matthew Steele, ARCHETYPE: CAPITAL A, 2013. Walnut, MDF, Paper, 23ga Nails, 22 x 11 x 28 inches. (Right) Nicholas Napoletano, HANNAH AND RAE II, 2015. Oil on Canvas, 42 x 42 inches.
Jerald Melberg Gallery is pleased to present an invitational exhibition of work by sculptor Matthew Steele and painter Nicholas Napoletano, both of Charlotte, NC. The gallery will show recent works by both artists in Two to Watch, on view July 16 – September 10.
Two to Watch aims to celebrate these two young Charlotte artists and introduce them to our collectors. Melberg decided to showcase the work of Steele and Napoletano after making numerous studio visits and considering the work of over fifty artists. He found that the superior craftsmanship, as well as the intriguing visual components found in both artists' work, is certainly worthy of recognition.
Nicholas Napoletano has earned a strong reputation for hyperrealist paintings replete with allegory and symbolism. Rich color and idealized figures populate his compositions which are stylistically in line with Mannerism and the High Renaissance. He believes the human figure "provides a vehicle to explore and document various facets of the human condition as they relate to both the individual and the universal whole." After graduating from the University of Hartford in Connecticut, Napoletano continued his art practice with renowned egg tempera painter Fred Wessel, an experience that further defined his modern and creative take on allegorical realism. Having moved to Charlotte in 2015, his work is already recognizable, aided by an ArtPop billboard and new collaborative mural in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood, both in Charlotte. Napoletano has been commissioned by private collectors and institutions and his work can be found in the collections of Amway, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the New Britain Museum of American Art.
"The work identifies systems that were conceived with a certain function, but over time the function has evolved, changed, or been removed from the system, leaving a residue that sustains beyond its original purpose. I hope to display the relationship between relics and their ever-changing contexts, reframing the objects and narratives within a contemporary framework."
Matthew Steele's wood sculptures find stylistic balance between elegance and industrialism, as he is enamored with the efforts of humanity to transcend earthly obstacles with infrastructures such as highways, dams and bridges. It is his intent to personify our internal technologies through sculptural depictions of these utilitarian endeavors. All of the work on view is made with sawed and squared planks of soft, grainy walnut, tacked together with tiny nails. After graduating with a BFA in sculpture from Indiana University in Bloomington, Steele arrived in Charlotte in early 2012 to participate in the artist residency program at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Recently, he was honored with a solo exhibition at Pease Gallery at Central Piedmont Community College and an artist residency at Skyline Artists in Residence in uptown Charlotte. During this residency he created a 70 foot site specific installation made of steel.
"To me, functional objects, large or small, personify our intentions and aspirations. Through no small means we continue to build the world we want to see through feat after feat, and this gesture is not lost on me. It is my intention to distill these things down to find the initial human moment in these endeavors."
The Gallery will host an opening reception on Friday, July 15 from 6-8pm.