Carl D'Alvia: Fundamentals

November 10 - December 17, 2022

HESSE FLATOW is pleased to announce the opening of Fundamentals, a sculptural exhibition by Carl D’Alvia, marking his second solo presentation with the gallery. 


Neither wholly abstract, nor acutely figurative, Carl D’Alvia’s meticulously rendered and whimsically playful sculptures of creatures, shapes, and humanoids oscillate between liminal states. Enshrouded entirely in textural “skins” resembling tessellated patterns, wood grains, or shaggy furs, his chameleon-like sculptures complicate preconceived correlations between subject matter, form, and material composition, often placing them in ironic juxtapositions. 


For his exhibition Fundamentals, D’Alvia presents a familiar cast of characters – ranging from seemingly zoological profiles of avian and canine varieties, to anthropomorphized wooden logs and mechanical hot rods, to a cartoonish smoker and mushroom man – all of which are fundamental motifs that the artist has revisited throughout his decades-long practice. Chosen mediums like marble and bronze not only situate D’Alvia’s oeuvre within art historical trajectories, notably taking cues from Italian Baroque exuberance and Brancusi-esque essentialism; but the nature of their respective processes – carved versus casted; handmade versus industrial – also play into the multitude of dialogues surrounding visual, tactile, and emblematic associations that D’Alvia activates throughout his sculptures.


A unifying thread is an ebullient and cheeky sense of humor, which eases both a literal and symbolic heaviness often attached to traditional modes of sculpture. In Kiwi, a bronze rounded body reinforces its weighty mass, poking fun at the paradox of being a flightless bird. Green Machine features a car engine set atop a sphynx-like frame, an irreverent mashup of high and low art that references both funerary monuments and the outlandish automobile designs of fringe illustrator “Big Daddy” Roth. A nod to cannabis culture, the leaning torso of Smoker is counterbalanced by an ephemeral plume emanating from his pipe like an enlightened thought bubble. Altogether, these embodied personas defy the stoic and stately quality of their material constitutions, allowing for sculpture to be fundamentally funny, mental, vulnerable, and unabashedly lame. 


Carl D’Alvia (b. 1965 in Sleepy Hollow, NY) is a sculptor that lives and works in Connecticut and New York. D’Alvia’s bronze, marble, and post-pop resin sculptures range from the abstract and geometric to the figurative and anthropomorphic. His work often explores dichotomies such as minimal/ornate, hard/soft, animate/inanimate, and comic/tragic. D’Alvia won the Rome Prize in 2012. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in New York as well as internationally, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; HESSE FLATOW, New York; American Academy in Rome, Italy; Galerie Hussenot, Paris; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence; and Arts Center at Duck Creek, East Hampton.