The pieces are abstract geometric arrangements of form and color—Puleo’s process favors interconnectedness, softening the traditionally strict delineation between works. That is, he does not finish one piece and set it aside to start another; instead he considers each “finished” piece to be a study for the next. This lends the intimately sized work an almost orchestral sense of grandiosity––one achieved not by any singular gesture but rather through resonance.
Because of the continuity of his process, Puleo is in a sense never finished with a work. “Painting, sculpture, drawing, collage,” the artist says, “I don’t use these words as nouns but as verbs.” In this way, the phrase “body of work” is particularly apt; Puleo’s is something living and evolving with time. Though each individual arrangement features clean lines and pristine geometric shapes, there is still a sense of the organic and the vital. Just as an ecosystem is sustained through cycles of regeneration, Puleo abides a similarly circular natural order, where each work begets the next in an endless ring of artistic creation.
While the title of the exhibition, Four Fours, explicitly describes the 4x4 Cartesian arrangement of paintings, it also sets up a more subtle dialogue with a 1943 collection of poems by T.S. Eliot titled The Four Quartets. Indeed, each of Puleo’s works, though untitled, features a parenthetical citation to one of the four poems from Eliot’s collection––“Burnt Norton,” “East Coker,” “The Dry Salvages,” and “Little Gidding.”
The artist and poet may work in different vocabularies, yet both find beauty in the eternal order and the interconnectedness of all things. With its formal repetition and circularity, their work acts as a vehicle for considering our relationship with systems vastly larger than ourselves––whether you call it the divine, the cosmic, or the universal. These are capacious systems with room enough to embody contradiction. All at once they are fast and slow, strict and free, falling apart and coming together, in endings and new beginnings.
Antonio Adriano Puleo was born in Boston and now lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his M.F.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has exhibited at galleries and institutions including LAXART, Los Angeles, CA; Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, NY; Kantor Feuer Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, CA; China Art Objects, Los Angeles CA; and The East Gallery at Claremont Graduate University. His work has been reviewed and featured in many publications including Artforum, The New Yorker, LA Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, and Flash Art.