Steven Carrelli

Gallery Affiliations: Packer Schopf Gallery

Region: Midwest


City / State: Chicago, IL

In my work, I employ a variety of strategies to suggest the uncertain nature of perception and to explore the complex language of representation.

Many of my works simultaneously use and subvert the practices of trompe-l’oeil by suggesting the illusion of space and then thwarting that illusion within the same composition. The works presented here are from a recent series titled Profane Mimesis, which takes Hans Holbein’s 1533 painting The Ambassadors as a model through which to approach these concerns. In each painting, imagery referencing Holbein’s painting is isolated, obscured, flattened, or blurred until barely recognizable. Through this combination of selective imitation and alteration, these paintings reinterpret Holbein’s dedication to the representation of the observable world. This practice of representing and altering historical images reflects a debt to the history of Western painting while also suggesting doubt about the ability of such works to serve as guides in the present. These out-of-focus images might be read as suggesting both sight and memory, both of which are slippery and inexact, powerful but not entirely trustworthy.