blackbird spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1


ADAPTATION SYNDROME  |  Painting in Contemporary Image Culture

Sylvan Lionni

 Pick 6, 2002
 Acrylic on canvas, 32'' x 84''
 Visual Arts Center of Richmond
 Courtesy Fusebox, Washington, DC

Though their image sources are different, Kaneda and Sylvan Lionni are in the same aesthetic camp. Lionni conjoins everyday icons such as web schematics and lotto tickets with high abstraction. Militant in his insistence on the work of the hand, his neo-formalist works read as abstractions that reference the aesthetic intentions of late modernist painting, while close scrutiny of their sources reveals what is sacred in culture. A byproduct of his work is a subversion through formalist painting of the sub-rosa devotions that permeate image culture.