Picture a small lake nestled in a dresser drawer; a pair of nuclear power plant cooling towers inside a cereal bowl on a baby’s high chair.
In Transmutations, John Nativio’s attention to detail brings these whimsical scenes to life and makes them seem completely normal. His paintings present a surreal view of our ever changing environment, emphasizing a complex contrast between rural nature and urban energy.
Nuclear Infusion II is the perfect place to begin studying the artist’s work. Rich colors fill the canvas as playful shadows add significant depth to the setting around a ripped paper bag holding an intricate landscape of cooling towers. The open feeling of this painting catches the eye as the observer gradually notices the window frame breaking away into an open sky.
Another piece, Prevision I, consists of a tiny farmer working his field in a desk drawer, and atop the desk are a series of Nativio’s reoccurring three dimensional shapes — graceful geometric blocks that hold the meaning to transmutation. In each painting these bold shapes signify a change in the environment; change is a part of human nature.
Nativio’s work asks viewers to determine for themselves if these changes, whether from wild to tame or simple to dangerous, are progressive for our environment or not.
Transmutations is on exhibit at the Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery through July 2. For more information call 216-631-6719 or go to kennethpaullesko.com. —Sara Portwood