Art review: Nothing sacred in Canterucci show
By Hare McNeil
Nick Canterucci’s fifth exhibit, Polaris, which ran last month at the Cooper-Young Community Association’s office, continues the Memphis-based folk artist’s evolution of his unique style of art.
Canterucci has always embraced the darker side of human nature, along with its miscellaneous subcultures, but with humour and social commentary, providing a glimpse into his state of
mind as he makes artistic statements.
The opening piece, “Route 66,” tells a brief story about his road trip from the early 1990s with his beloved MG Midget. Other pieces such as “The Gal Who Got Away” and “The Hot Dog Song” offer his take on subjects that musicians write and sing about, and the love of rock ‘n roll.
Another standout piece, “Skillet Love,” deals with a CY resident’s love of dining out and love of bacon and eggs — many who viewed the exhibit found it to be a favorite.
Through his prolific body of art, Canterucci has developed a singular icongraphy that creates the language of his work. Whether it’s men/women relationships, corporate rule, self image, social thoughts, or death and dying, Canterucci expresses his lambusting opinions in a pictographic style that nods to Phillip Guston and pop art using bright colors, overlays and black outlined symbols and figures.
A self-taught artist, Canterucci thumbs his nose at progress and techology, by the very process and materials he uses to create: hand-cut letters and words collaged onto recycled wood and more.
Canterucci’s art has a compulsive and unpolished feel — as if the artist is using his art to exorcise demons and ghosts embedded in his psyche. The 25 pieces that make up Polaris certainly back up that notion.
In his satire, nothing is exempt: FedEx, former girlfriends, neighbors, his animals, Memphis. Canterucci thumbs his nose at sacrosanct ideals with the intent of eliciting a response. It’s as if the artist is hiding to peek as viewers look on in order to see how perplexed they are to his form of black humor.
Canterucci’s distinctive artworks,with their bright colors and playful style, demand a reaction, and get it, and Polaris continues that agenda.
The exhibit at the CYCA office, 2298 Young Ave., has been extended to June 7.