Habitat is a weekly series that visits with artists in their workspaces.
This week’s studio: John Dante Bianchi, New York. “Greenwick, Brooklyn’s newest up and coming neighborhood,” John Dante Bianchi joked when asked precisely where his Brooklyn studio was. Bianchi is currently working on a few pieces from his “Bruised Panel” series, which resemble toxic sunsets, and which he hopes “convey traumatic events in a way that could be potentially transformative.”
Bianchi has been at his live-work basement studio for five years. “It’s like an apocalyptic zone down here, the building owner is very hands off,” he said. Bianchi’s solo show at Tyler Wood Gallery in San Francisco wraps up today. A piece from his “Bruised Panel” series is appearing in the ICI 40th Anniversary Artsy auction, which launches on November 6 and he’s currently preparing for an exhibition at Galerie Derouillon in Paris early next year. Below, Bianchi takes us around his studio and shows us some work in progress.
ALL PHOTOS: KATHERINE MCMAHON
Bianchi refers to his East Williamsburg basement studio as "The Woodpile" due to it's history as a wood shop before the recession and Bianchi's fondness for the Robert Frost poem. The name "just kind of stuck," he said.
"This is a cabinet of curiosity, experiments get stored here. If I have an idea, sometimes I'll go back and pick something out of here and play around with it."
"For a month or two, I'll be working on 8 to 10 pieces at once," Bianchi said about his current series.
A peak at Bianchi's trove of spray paint. With the bruised panel series, Bianchi uses "layers and layers of paint. I'll grind it down and build it back up, it's kind of a push and pull."
"I have to listen to music while I'm working. Recently, I've been really into Beach House and Tame Impala."
"I cut this piece by hand with a saw," Bianchi said. By projecting light on this hanging sculpture which resembles a chandelier, "It engaged a huge amount of space with extremely simple means."
Bianchi builds his own stretchers and explained that the back of this piece from his "Bruised Panel" series should "read as a secondary support but also another piece of visual information. In a way this does become part of the work too. It's a stretcher but it's also really sculptural."
"This is my 'Artist in Development' studio. Over the last three years I've had different people here. This whole area is used for younger artists who don't have studios yet and need a place to work. This is Oscar Bedford. We worked together at a gallery a few years ago. He's been able to expand his practice," said Bianchi, who added that he likes to have people in the space working around him. "I focus better when there's a lot of activity," he said.
"This was designed after a narwhal," said Bianchi, who crafted this in-progress sculpture with pigmented wax to create the purple tone.