Stretch Under Strain

Nick Fusaro

January 11th February 18th, 2024

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Nick Fusaro (b. 1989) is a Brooklyn-based conceptual artist. His first exhibition with the gallery, Stretch Under Strain, references the technical definition of deformation, a measure of how much an object is stretched, and strain, the ratio between the deformation and the original length. Included artworks explore the strain of ideation, production, and historical baggage that are inherent to the creative process. This set of works expands upon his Hunter thesis exhibition, Every Force Evolves A Form, 2022, by elaborating on the influences and personal folklore that inform the artist’s practice.

Fusaro’s approach to sculpture is rooted in recent American art historical movements ranging from The Shaker Craftsman Tradition to the Pictures Generation. His work laces a sense of humor, sincerity, and reverie with serious-looking objects. Fusaro plays with the difference of ego inherent in minimalism and how that is lost through the process of workmanship. Take Carousel (2024), the blue and pink column, at the center of the exhibition. Columns are one of the first subjects of study for young art historians. Neither ionic nor Corinthians, Fusaro has elected to reference a classic cartoon rather than classical art: The Pink Panther. The Pink Phink, directed by Fritz Frelang in 1964, depicts a house painter, The Little Man, attempting to paint a house blue. Despite his focused dedication to the project, the painter is foiled by the Pink Panther who covers every surface with pink paint instead. Carousel, references a moment in which The Little Man and The Pink Panther meet at a column, their Sisyphean struggle transforming into an absurdist choreography of chasing and repainting. With comedic timing in mind, Fusaro chose to reference the moment before the struggle escalates, as blue faded to pink without the Little Man’s total awareness.

Fusaro obscures his references by mashing visual similarities from disparate movements, intentionally confusing distinctions between well-known forms from Americana, such as the furniture used for gambling, a Donald Judd, or a Shaker storage solution. This technique of layering draws parallels between seemingly unlinked forces. Two works, Richochet (2022) and Have and Hold (2023) reference bocci ball, Mike Kelley’s 1998 architectural maquette of Cal Arts titled Sublevel, while also recalling the luscious briefcases made to hold pokerchips. Combined, they look like a game or an heirloom. Typical exhibition hierarchy dictates that the object comes before the container. In minimalism, the container is artwork because of its emptiness. In Fusaro’s example, the two rely on each other yet function independently. The impressions, craters of luxurious crushed silk velvet, lay in wait for the aluminum spheres. The initial impetus of minimalism is participatory, requiring the viewer to complete an installation through observation or use. Here, Fusaro has done the work for you.

Translation provided by DeepL


NICK FUSARO (b. 1989) is based in Brooklyn, NY. He received his MFA in Sculpture from Hunter College in 2022 and his BFA in Sculpture from Pratt Institute in 2012. His sculptural practice combines humble materials, collections, and iteration to emphasize the effects of memory on lived experience. Fusaro also studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2011 and is the founder of Three Four Three Four, an artist-run gallery in New York. He has shown at Parent Company Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Marwan (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Jupiter Woods (London, UK), Fisher Parrish (Brooklyn, NY), Strobe Gallery (New York, NY) and Long Story Short (New York, NY).