Ross Caliendo is a painter living in Los Angeles in 2016.
His work is intuitive, dealing with subject matter that is always in flux. It’s opaque, layered, spray-painted, resin-soaked, stenciled, subjected to the elements, to Southern California sunshine.
It’s painting made in the City of Angels, Hollywood Babylon, Tomorrowland, a city of cynic dreamers, the ones who made it West. Where you can keep building out ’til you sink into the sand.
Everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
Ross Caliendo is not a branded artist – unless that brand is fast, loose, and messy with its references. He barrels through the materials and methods available to today’s painters, appropriating with ham-fisted enthusiasm, translating his intuitions into paint and plane with quickness.
Tomorrow’s works are all issued from Caliendo’s past two years of work – a productive period of exploration. He offers up a palette of painterly gestures – like Los Angeles itself, examining its details will reveal a sumptuousness only rivaled by the vast, aching beauty of its whole. Here, soft vignette paintings, all color and gesture – on an intimate scale that draws you in. Like all of Caliendo’s paintings, each is based on an underlying color in which the canvas is stained or dyed, this time in mostly white – new for the artist, usually so generous in color and texture.
The Archway series co-exists comfortably with these recent abstractions, two neighborhoods bleeding into each other. They are exemplary of the artist’s recurrent approach of establishing constraints in a series, of color or of motif, in order to be unrestricted in every other possible way. These large format works are held together, rooted by a stone archway more or less prominent in each one. Archetypes and allegories populate certain of the canvases – cauldrons, flames and moons – like faded starlets still able to titillate with their mere presence. Here especially, we find Caliendo’s ability to bring the history and the present crashing into each other, selecting fragments of the past to bring back to life. The coexistence of these two series incites a gaze preoccupied with painting – flitting back and forth between the creation of images and the execution of gesture. Tomorrow reaches back and takes bits and pieces of Caliendo’s own history – ushering in previous works, from previous series to rub shoulders with these newer productions. Nothing’s from here, so anything can belong.