Victor Moscoso

Toasted with Everything
MARCH 22 - APRIL 22, 2018
Toasted with Everything will be Steve DiBenedetto's third solo exhibition at Derek Eller Gallery and for this occasion he has summoned a collection of vibrant mutants on canvas. Guided by a genuine belief in some alchemical ethos that paint can and should catalyze true transmutation, DiBenedetto paints with unique confidence. Through what he describes as "procedural painting", a form of generative art, these compositions are arrived at through deep disassociation, or "letting the paint decide". This state combined with DiBenedetto's practiced and battle-tested hand, allow for new and undiscovered forms to slink out of the primordial ooze of oil and pigment. 


Over the course of DiBenedetto's career he's established and tooled an iconic lexicon. Helicopters, Ferris wheels and octopuses played in prominent roles in his canon. In this newest group of paintings DiBenedetto has delved deeper into the etymology, forgoing his standard language for prehistoric guttural expression. Viewing these paintings is to engage in a free-associative translation where many words are conjured but none are pronounced. Eyeball! Vegetable! Spaceship! A Mayan monument constructed of trash bags full of spaghetti! These elusive pre-linguistic forms mesmerize and engage the viewer. Each painting has a monolithically sculptural quality and while the imagery meanders, everything is concretely held together as morphological figuration by seemingly cubist sub-structures. 


But long time fans can rest assured, it's still Steve being Steve. As always he's engaged in strenuous combat with the canvas. Every imaginable application of paint both reductive and additive is thrown at it, testing the limitations and elasticity of the material. Paintings here range from small to colossal in scale, but each is tackled with the same unwavering veracity. The collapse of counter culture's utopian promise remains at the forefront and while psychedelia still reverberates, the paranoid, post-hippy citations have assertively made way for the flame-flicked visions of a shaman's campfire. 


Steve DiBenedetto (b. 1958) has exhibited extensively including recent solo outings at Cherry and Martin (Los Angeles, CA), the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art (Ridgefield, CT) and Half Gallery (New York, NY). He has been included in museum exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris, France), Neuen Museum (Nurnberg, Germany), Kunstveren Museum Schloss Morsbroich (Leverkusen, Germany), Museum of Contemporary Art (Geneva, Switzerland) and others. His work is included in public collections such as Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), and Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY). DiBenedetto lives and works in New York. 


Derek Eller Gallery is located at 300 Broome Street between Eldridge Street and Forsyth Street. Hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 11am to 6pm and Tuesday by appointment. For further information please contact the gallery at 212.206.6411or visit

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Despite Hegel’s candidly admitted preference for the concrete over the abstract, abstraction is not of mere secondary importance in his philosophy: on the one hand, ‘real concreteness’ includes abstraction as one of its necessary components; on the other hand, as we shall see, abstraction, so to speak, becomes concrete in modern society. Moreover, that a stubborn and acute upholder of the concept should express such a manifest inclination for concreteness may appear somewhat surprising. In a short essay that speculates on Hegel’s famous reproach to Kant for having displayed in his antinomies too much ‘tenderness for the things of the world’, 13 Remo Bodei provocatively raises the question of why the ‘starry heavens’ and the ‘moral law’ – so important to the philosopher of Königsberg – do not seem to interest Hegel, or perhaps even disappoint him. 14 Bodei convincingly interprets Hegel’s lack of interest as the propensity to concentrate the efforts of reason on the sublunary world and its terrestrial matters, with respect to which the sky and the interiority of the moral commandment represent merely two lines of flight. To this extent, Hegel’s critique of abstraction can be considered as one of the primary means by which he seeks to channel philosophical reason into the world. 15

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