Critics’ Picks

Sérgio Costa, Strata #25 (Fucking Haziness!), 2015, oil and enamel on canvas, 47 x 57".

Sérgio Costa, Strata #25 (Fucking Haziness!), 2015, oil and enamel on canvas, 47 x 57".


Sérgio Costa

Galeria Bangbang
Rua Dr. Almeida Amaral 30b
May 22–July 25, 2015

In “Sampling Strata,” Lisbon-based artist Sérgio Costa presents a geological and naturally inspired series of works that could in fact be categorized as a reflection of extreme perceptions. On the lower floor of the gallery are his clouds paintings, a series of five similar oil and enamel canvases of vapor-like gray masses on dark backgrounds, all possessing rather emotional titles such as Fucking Haziness!, Eventually, and Mindless into the Cloudburst Overhead, all 2015. These words express a dynamic, violent desperation that is not entirely represented, in spite of the works’ gloomy palette, in the numbness of the rather quiet specters.

While those dark thought clouds gather underneath, opportunities for grounding are offered upstairs with smaller paintings that display renderings of rock surfaces. “Gullies,” 2015, an ensemble of small oil paintings mimicking snapshots of a spectrum of eroded earth surfaces, lets the viewer guess which landforms they represent in order to perhaps mentally retrace the path that led to the specimens. Nearby, two oil paintings, each titled Crack Sampler, both 2014, which actually incorporate clay, reference the layers of some arid land and bring a tense mood of desolation to the show. Composed of six ovoid molds made from a modeling compound, Strata, 2015, resembles a cracked moonlike clay surface that just offers more fissures and breaks. Partly archival, partly associative, the presentation here navigates between the transitory and the unchangeable, set in stone records of downpours.