New York

Daryl Trivieri

Semaphore East

In her song “Earth Girls Are Easy” Julie Brown sings of her alien lover: “Total grossarama . . . slick as a slug . . . with a shake and bake complexion and eyes like a bug . . . way beyond weird, I wanted out of there quick . . . he was a cross between Flipper and Alan Thicke.” And that’s very much what the main character of Daryl Trivieri’s paintings looks like. Its body is shaped something like a large dill pickle and it is somewhat reminiscent of the monstrous baby in the David Lynch film Eraserhead. It’s a character designed to tread the line between horrid and cute. It’s a sort of amphibious gremlin. Actually there are two of these little fellas and one or the other or both appear in all of these paintings. They are air brushed on the canvases in black and white, looking almost like photos. My favorite of the two monsters has eyes on stalks and his mouth seems to be made out of an actual fish head, so. that the fish eyes are his nostrils.

Around this creature, but not in his plane, Trivieri adds various pseudoprimitive touches, like tribal graffiti on a photo. Sometimes there is a human form made up of radiant concentric lines,an outline man like those figures carved on rocks that Erich Von Daniken points to as evidence of ancient astronauts. There are also outline shapes of animals, like cave painting totems in felt-tip. But the best parts of the paintings are the squiggled figures, made in finger-painting style on backgrounds of one or more colors outlined in black. The paint ridges are painted black, and these artificial shadows give the figures a fake flatness. It’s an interesting illusion. It looks like painting with depth photographed and made two-dimensional, but actually the depth is still there. These areas are intriguing and they radiate a kind of modern primitive hoodoo electromagnetic buzz.

There are a few human figures in these paintings. There are some buttocks and legs painted black and white photoreatistically. Their gender is nonspecific and they show the universality of the appeal of the butt. Is it male? Is it a muscular female? Does it matter? In The Transformer, 1983, a bare-chested young man lies in jeans on his back, in Masaccio Christ-on-his-back perspective, asleep perchance dreaming of the pickle gremlin that seems about to devour him. Lithely slopped over the black-and-white plane is some abstract candy-colored squiggle in the Jackson Pollock out of Komar and Melamid school. Also stuck on the canvas are some modeled pigs and a Tyrannosaurus rex. I assume the sleeping or dead young stud is the artist or his surrogate. He is apparently about to be eaten by some food for thought. These paintings won’t win any beauty contests, but they are talented, congenial, and wittily out-there.

Glenn O’Brien