Nicko Cecchini draws parallels between the consumption of animal products and greater society’s fascination and documentation of violent and disastrous moments. Gruesome imagery has become a staple in the content we consume on a daily basis, desensitizing our capacity for violence and normalizing it as entertainment. Cecchini is interested in consumption; the connection between the way our culture absorbs violent content, and the global demand for meat products. Cecchini pinpoints meat production, where animal consumption is no longer intrinsic to survival for most but has instead become linked with overproduction and indulgence. Take for example a luring slab of delicately cooked steak, plated and waiting for a lucky dinner guest to tuck into. When carefully prepared in a restaurant or neatly pre-packaged in the grocery store, it is easy to distance ourselves from the violent reality of slaughterhouses and the meat industry.
This series explores the dismemberment of CAM (Corporate Anthropomorphic Mascot) – a wolf trickster who is featured heavily throughout Cecchini’s body of work. His paintings mostly alternate between a masculine nude figure interacting with cuts of meats and the animated CAM on a blood thirsty rampage. Upon deeper inspection, the viewer realises the cuts of meat are in fact parts of the dismembered CAM. Depicted here is a struggle, a fight between adversaries. Does one triumph over the other? Are we watching a linear narrative unfold or are these episodic occurrences?
The relationship between the consumer and animal product involves dissonance. Cecchini encourages the viewer’s awareness of this, drawing alarm to societal dissonance on a grand scale. Cecchini explores these cultural contradictions by creating entertaining and resonating characters, cartoon-esque worlds and the identifiable attraction of bare flesh. Abundant with dark undertones, there is a longing for optimism in this world. Azure blue skies and soft cotton clouds speak to hyper realism and the absurdity of the human cycle.
Nicko Cecchini is a Toronto based painter whose work explores the effects of advertising and unbridled consumerism on the human experience. Throughout his practice, Cecchini explores themes relating to sexuality, politics, environmentalism and popular culture. His recent exhibitions include Intimacy - A Group Show, Taymour Grahne Projects (London), Scale, The Six Hundred, (Toronto), and Where We Are, Beaver Hall Gallery (Toronto). Cecchini's upcoming exhibitions include Queer Intimacy – A Group Show, Taymour Grahne Projects (London) and Untitled Group Show, Aout Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon.