The flesh of men is confused in the fascination of color and surface in Louis Fratino’s paintings, which were recently on display in an exhibition So, I’ve Got You at Thierry Goldberg Gallery. Convex limbs fill space and plastique air—full, flush, and broad. All these parts abound with certain illustrative and anthropomorphic qualities in the works of Fratino.
The explicit seduces the charming in these canvases. Something faultless surrounds the imaginary character of these figures. Sweet little kisses, touching, sucking, fucking, all wonderful and loud and totally approachable. The minds of men are erotic and homo, but innocent and honest in rapture. Fratino’s technique is luminescent and geographic. Bodies are carved through shapes and shades filtered through concepts of abstraction and familiarity. Everything near is possible for harvest in the hands of a technician like him.
Who are these men? Their bodies have been rethought, thorough and fulfilled. Fratino establishes narratives and scenarios that welcome viewers to see themselves in the imagery. Maybe the paintings are of real people, but they are not entrapped in diary or self-portraiture. The identities of these men are a jumping off point. First marks of a human are tender; relationships embellish complication and consequences that are exquisite and wonderful. Fratino’s fields of earthy hues and geometric physiques become a vacuum that ensnare long looking and voluptuous kinds of desire. These works indicate a point in space at which a journey, motion, or action begins. They are from people, not of them. The canvases are stylized and though their story may display a lack of concern for specifics, they bloom with details; hairs and fur—follicles derived from a single carpel.
The breath of these bodies occupies the compositions, opening like dried fruit, releasing seeds and sights that imbibe the nature of things. A painter waits for paintings to happen. They are engaged to the world around them. Fratino is frank when he speaks: “The more removed I am from the painting the more I know.” The answers are inside the images and it’s not a sole person’s job to assign feelings or understandings. Such results are unique to viewers and inseparable from the significance of Fratino’s work. Their curiosities abound, outside in the sun, at beaches, and in homes. Bodies folded, genitals exposed, feet fresh and discolored. They are a devious and alluring collection of wild animals with faces like aliens, welcoming the curious configuration of the canvases.