© Courtesy of Gabe Cortese and cadet capela
© Credits photo: Thomas Marroni

Gabe Cortese

April 27 — June 1, 2024

13 rue Béranger, 75003 Paris

cadet capela is pleased to present Deeply, a solo exhibition by American artist Gabe Cortese at 13 rue Béranger, 75003 Paris.

For his first solo exhibition in France, Gabe Cortese explores the theme of water, an omnipresent element in his daily life. Born and raised in coastal regions, the artist has always had a deep connection with this element, considering it essential to his existence. Water thus becomes the protagonist of his new paintings, offering Cortese a canvas on which he navigates between figuration and abstraction, playing with the texture and forms of his characters.

Early on in conceptualizing this body of work I was gathering inspiration surrounding the idea of water. I was born in Key West, an island at the tip of Florida, raised by my Puerto Rican family, and now living in Rhode Island. Water and the ability to return to the ocean has always been available to me in every moment of my life.

While remaining faithful to classical compositions, such as in the painting Island, referring to Mantegna’s Lamentation of Christ in the foreshortening of the body, water acts as a veil, allowing the body to dissolve into abstract forms, defying the limits of reality and plunging the viewer into a meditative state. The heavy glazes used by the artist create enameled surfaces, accentuating the intensity of colors and reflections.

The title of the exhibition, Deeply, evokes the intensity of the emotional states of the characters, more or less immersed in water. Without positive or negative connotation, this title also allows for an open-minded interpretation of the exhibition. Cortese does not seek to make the works easily interpretable; on the contrary, he wishes to immerse the viewer in his own questions and reflections, thus fostering a meditative experience. Through precise symbolism, Cortese constructs a universe where the central character becomes the avatar of his own emotions and experiences. Each painting is thus charged with an autobiographical dimension, serving as a talisman to preserve the artist’s memories.

This has been a liberating show to create; it freed me from merely painting a body engaged in activity and strictly being the focal point of the artwork. There has been a shift in focus within my practice; now color, water, and the way water abstracts the body can all serve as the primary subjects.

Gabe Cortese, born in 1994 in Key West, Florida, received his BFA in 2017 and his MFA in 2021 from the University of Central Florida. His recent solo exhibitions include “Soft Spot” at G/art/en gallery in Como, Italy, and “Nothing Good Happens at Night” at M+B in Los Angeles, California. His work is also part of the collections of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Tom of Finland Foundation, and the X Museum. Gabe Cortese lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island.