new-york

Rico Gatson, Watts Painting #1, 2011, 48 1/2 x 49".

Rico Gatson

Ronald Feldman Gallery

Rico Gatson, Watts Painting #1, 2011, 48 1/2 x 49".

The five paintings in Rico Gatson’s series “Watts,” 2011, on view in this show, are adapted from aerial photographs of the Watts rebellion of 1965, in Los Angeles, and address the still raw and unresolved nature of the injustices that trigger urban violence, as well as the news media’s recursive tendency to produce the same kinds of oversimplified images of political unrest. In the approximately four-by-four-foot square panels, a textured crust of glitter overpainted in black indicates city blocks, while crisscrossing dark-gray lines represent the intervening roads. As in the source photos taken from the windows of helicopters, the horizon lines of the images are unstable and vertiginous. A spew of wildly colored fire and smoke—bright reds tinged with orange outlined in a penumbra of vivid purple—emanates from a scarcely visible burning building. By schematizing the

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