Conjoined Human Parts at BAYarts

Conjoined Human Parts is an exhibition that focuses on John R. Nativio’s interpretation of the human figure. Rather than simple rendering, though, this exhibit puts the emphasis on subjective abstraction and reinterpretation—the disassembling and reintegration of the figure through the mind of the artist.

To varying degrees, this perspective is present in each of the three disciplines in the show. In the paintings, you see it in the objectification of the figure—the face turned away or obscured from view, accentuating the arrangement of the figure in the composition. You see it in the figure’s relationship to its environment, echoed by the surrounding objects in the still life.  In the sculptures, the figures become angular, almost cubist. Smooth muscles become intersecting planes. Faces become contorted references to the bone beneath the flesh, sometimes even splitting in half.  But it’s in Nativio’s recent drawings that the reinterpretation of the figure is most evident.

The drawings are inspired by Old Master drawings of overlapping anatomy.  Meant as studies for their large-scale paintings, the Old Masters conserved paper by arranging their subjects to maximize drawing space, creating drawings where an arm might intersect a torso at a disjointed angle, or a disproportionate hand might float tangentially without context.  Unlike the Old Master drawings, Nativio gives context to these disparate human parts, unifying the anatomical anomalies into a reconfigured portrait, where a woman’s arms might drape across her own shoulders, or a man’s hands might clasp below his neck, just above his reoriented pelvis.  Nativio’s drawings become moody reflections on his subjects, suggesting narratives and connotations concerning the personas within. Despite their reimagined compositions, the drawings are surprisingly human.

In the late 1970s through early 1980s, John Nativio traveled and studied in Europe, during which time he was given access for further study in the private library archives of Old Master drawings at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

A short time after returning from Europe, Nativio taught life drawing at Cooper School of Art, and has since exhibited his work in more than 70 museum and gallery exhibitions, including over 50 juried exhibitions. Nativio has received national and international awards for painting and drawing. His most recent exhibitions include the Butler Institute of American Art’s National Midyear Exhibition in Youngstown, Ohio, and solo shows at The Washington Art Association in Washington Depot, Connecticut and at the Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio.

Curated by Ross Lesko, Gallery Director, Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery

John R. Nativio
Conjoined Human Parts
Drawings + Paintings + Sculpture
January 10th, 2014 – January 31st, 2014

Gallery Talk
Wednesday, January 15th, 6:30pm-7:30pm

Drawing Workshop
Saturday, January 19th
See for details



28795 Lake Road

Bay Village, Ohio 44140