D. Dominick Lombardi Toyota vs. Godzilla Tucked away in an arty office building in D.U.M.B.O., Brooklyn, Artlexis is the name of a small gallery run by Blurred Books, an experimental comic books publisher. D. Dominick Lombardi's efforts have been included in several issues of Blurred Vision, their collection of current offerings of what used to be called underground comics before big money smelled blood. Inspired by a recent trip to the Far East, Lombardi's exhibition consists of eight acrylic paintings on canvas, three knee-high sculptures, and two digital prints.
The paintings are of jocular gatherings in restaurants; one interior of a notoriously cram-packed subway; and a few street scenes. The paint is applied in illustrative washes -- they seem to have been copied from offhand snapshots aimed at capturing real life rather than postcard perfect compositions of tourist attractions. On each, one or two emblematic abstract designs are superimposed atop the prosaic image. The same two logo-like abstractions are repeated on all of the paintings, insinuating a single distinct personality or consciousness voyeuristically observing the goings on. These "Graphoos" (Lombardi's term for his graffiti + tattoo hybrid stylizations) are immaculately rendered black or red graphics (I thought they were silk screened) in contrast to the blurry brushwork of the overall scenes.
The three sculptures all portray the same barefooted, obnoxious little scamp posing beatifically with a "Who, me? I'm so innocent and cute" countenance. This repulsively endearing troll ("mischievous urchin," the artist calls him) is composed of sand mixed with acrylic applied over armatures of colorful plastic toys - which is revealed in the back where they are not coated with the sand mix. The three figures stand on books on low pedestals, which enhances their vulnerable narrative.
The most impressive works are the two digital prints. These collaborations between the artist and Artlexis look like multi-layered lithography and silkscreen prints. The backgrounds are pastiches of Japanese cartoon figures, or "anime," street scenes, subway interiors, and perhaps all the fodder for the paintings jumbled together in a Photoshop frenzy and printed in muted tones. Cleanly laid on top are several of the Graphoos. D Dominick Lombardi mixes cultures and perspectives to create his real life serial that ranges in and out of abstraction and good-natured travelogue. - Christopher Hart Chambers
Artlexis 10 Jay Street Suite 404, Brooklyn through April 3, 2009
Christopher Hart Chambers is an artist, writer, and curator based in NYC.