STEVEN LABADESSA

My practice serves as a physically enacted ritual of praise and contemplation, aspiring towards a devout pursuit of a severe beauty. It is an aesthetic of imperfection alluding to the underlying nature of matter and memory: everything is subject to age, wear and decay; however obstinately, suspended in the mythical timelessness of the medium(s) – still, but never silent.

...alternatively...

The work encapsulates a mute story of disenchantment wrought by disillusionment.

An agnostic practice in the face of futility (partly wrought by the decadence & existential angst of the digital epoch): a meditation on the eternal; wherein, transcendence, if it were to exist, can be found deep within the vulnerable and mortal fabricated self.

And there, the acknowledgment that transcendence lies not in purity, but in finding virtue in the impure.

...formally...

I exact a preference for hyperbole (i.e., operatic) and psychological texture in my work. It explores in an expanding a suite of works within the confines of self-portraiture and the poetics of observation; where I re-render the flesh of friends and relations (lasting and temporary) by compositing my imagery from a variety of observed, imaginary and digital sources serving as a conceptually conceived cultural document wrought by the agency of these tumultuous times.

In so doing, dance and theatre are knowingly explored compositionally within the context of the language of painting in a multi- and trans-disciplinary fashion that is not an end in themselves, but an open field for perceiving and questioning the contemporary world. Distinctively, through a poetic choreography of singular bodies, the work encourages reflection on the allusions to sites, narratives, and temporality of existence/memory to emphasize the importance of shared experiences and to critically question the dystopian as well as the utopian potential against hegemonic strategies of social and cultural fragmentation.

The roots and tone of which are supported by many pillars in the myriad expanse of the Arts including the dark avant-gardism of Tatsumi Hijikata’s Butoh, the choreography of Pina Bausch, the performance, video and installation artist, Vito Acconci, the Romantics Poets (Lord Byron & Percy Shelley, in particular) and extending back to the Northern Renaissance (Hans Memling & Jan Van Eyck, notably).