Tina Kim Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition of new works by New York-based Italian artist Davide Balliano. For the artist’s first show at the gallery, Balliano will present several recent paintings created specifically for the exhibition. Inscribed with his austere vocabulary and minimalist forms, Balliano’s paintings display carefully synthesized elements that speak to the notion of proportion and consider humanity’s place in relationship to the power of the universe.

Grounded in the contemplation of nature and its overpowering dimensions, Balliano’s research reflects on the scale of the human condition, looking for its core mark through a process of aesthetic reduction. Engaging with abstract forms, Balliano looks at the complex structures of the cosmos, nature, and human-made systems in macro and micro scales, simplifying them to geometric morphemes – minimal units of a meaning that cannot be further divided.

In his research on proportions and aesthetics, Balliano adopts the derivate of the arch figure as a key letter in his artistic alphabet. Borrowing this form from classic architecture, Balliano uses the arch to detail a structural framework for the systems he contemplates, which is critical to understanding the hidden constructions of his practice. As the need to build shelters has evolved throughout time to become one of human kind’s most monumental achievements, Balliano’s vocabulary, once synthesized to its most simple element, bounces back to a complex configuration of layers that, like time, reveal the backbone of a structure when stripped of its functionality and reduced to its ultimate shape.

While Balliano’s paintings appear supremely meticulous from afar, on closer inspection they bear insistent scrapes that reveal layers of plaster and paint on the wooden surface. These roughly applied coats of plaster blur the intricacies of the underlying painting, providing a key reminder that what is visible to the human eye is only a fraction of the entire universe. As such, Balliano’s paintings take on the form of ruins, which bear the weight of history and blur the progression of time. By applying layers of plaster and paint over and over and then scratching them, the artist forces his paintings to bypass any decorative functionality, turning them into scarred mirrors, reflecting our need for meaning and identity.

Davide Balliano was born in Turin in 1983 and currently lives and works in New York. He is celebrated both for his paintings and his sculptures in wood, ceramic and stone. Recent solo exhibitions include Luce Gallery, Torino (2015), Timothy Taylor Gallery, London (2015), Room East, New York (2014), Galerie Rolando Anselmi, Berlin, and Michel Rein Gallery, Paris (both 2013). His work has been included in group exhibitions at David Zwirner Gallery, New York (2015), Sean Kelly Gallery, New York (2010 and 2014), Madre Museum, Naples (2012), the Quadrilateral Biennial in Rijeka, Croatia (2011), The Watermill Centre, New York (2009 and 2011), MoMA PS1, New York and the Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castelló, Castellón (all 2010).