The first thing that strikes you at the glorious new exhibition of Allan D’Arcangelo’s work is the blues – vibrant, arresting tones deployed in various hues across his beguiling, bold canvases.
His use of colour is phenomenal, making his landscapes all the more strange and brilliant. The exhibition currently showing at the Waddington Custot gallery in London, Pi in the Sky, presents D’Arcangelo’s paintings and drawings from the late 1960s to the early 1980s in his first ever UK solo exhibition.
As the gallery explains, the artist painted contemporary landscapes from memory. “A road, a pylon or the sky glimpsed through an overpass are his subjects and the Sublime root of landscape paintings, with its intrinsic links to nature, is not of concern,” it says. “The paintings from this period tend to depict scenes of post-industrialisation, devoid of human presence.
“Often suggestive of an upward gaze, they particularly reference the view from a car window. The one-point perspective and intentional flatness used by D’Arcangelo allows for a democratisation of the picture plane, removing any hierarchical elements within the landscape: road, pylon and sky are all equal.”
His portrayal of “landscape” ranges from the straightforward to the more oblique, sometimes rendering scenes as diagonal, geometric abstractions; where notions of framing become intrinsic to the composition itself.
“The suggestion of movement and fractured framing also seems to reference the idea of a film still, a suggestion that the painting is one in a sequence, an abstracted part of a whole,” says the gallery. “The works are intentionally imbued with a non-specific location emphasising the anonymity of the road-side landscape. D’Arcangelo states that ‘we are horribly separated from ourselves and this separation increases at 90mph’.”
Allan D’Arcangelo Pi in the Sky runs until 10 March 2018 at Waddington Custot, 11 Cork Street, London.