Dragon, Crab and Turtle TRAVELS to Italy
An Online Exhibition
June 14, 2021 to August 20, 2021
Dragon, Crab, and Turtle is pleased to present a summer exhibit at the Villa Ranuzzi Cospi located in the middle of sunflower fields outside Bologna. Built in the 1500s and then completely restructured before 1711, much of the extravagant baroque structure has been decorated with fantasy scenes from Roman Antiquity as well as pastel-coloured paintings of sea shells, exotic flowers and fanciful bucolic designs associated with summertime living. The owner of the villa, Prospero Ferdinando Benedetto Lorenzo Francesco Baldassare Ranuzzi Cospi, soon began to host the “Accademia dei Notturni,” an artistic and literary salon that met in his villa in the evenings to party—and his plan for the villa as a place fit for summertime entertainment, recreation, pleasure, culture and the arts has been successfully carried out ever since.
Portions of the interior space also feature 21st c. spray-painted murals by Katherine Bernhardt whose paintings focus on vibrantly coloured birds, pop culture icons, fruits and flowers, serving as backdrop and juxtaposition for a wide variety of other contemporary works by American artists associated with Dragon, Crab and Turtle including: Ashley Colangelo, Vaughn Davis Jr., Bianca Fields, Rachel B. Hayes and Jose Luis Vargas. All of this contemporary American art contrasts strikingly with the early modern Italian villa context, putting both places and eras into much greater perspective.
This summer show features primarily textiles: comfy quilts by Colangelo, heavily altered canvases by Davis Jr, fantastical animal-inspired drawings by Fields, bold and enormous floating banners by Hayes, and other-worldly canvases paintings by Vargas. The exhibit brings together unique top-rate work coming out of lesser known parts of the U.S.—including Missouri, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico—in order to share it with an Italian and global audience.
Curated on location by Elizabeth Bernhardt.
Katherine Bernhardt (St. Louis, MO) lived and worked in NYC for over two decades before returning to St. Louis where she founded Dragon, Crab and Turtle in the city’s mid-town design district. She is an internationally known painter who enjoys working with colourful pop-culture icons as well as themes from nature. Her Italian murals (spray painted on plastered walls during the summer of 2018) within a portion of the Villa Ranuzzi Cospi have never before been featured in a show or seen by the public.
Katherine Bernhardt, Installation views, Bagnarola di Budrio; Bologna, Italia, Untitled, Spraypaint , 2018
Ashley Colangelo (St. Louis, MO) earned her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). For this show she has blown up and distorted traditional patchwork patterns in order to create distinctively contemporary geometrical designs—all while exploring intense color relationships among patches inspired by nuanced schemes prevalent in Bagnarola and Bologna. She will be having her first solo quilt and bed show at Dragon, Crab and Turtle in September 2021.
Ashley Colangelo, Installation views, Bagnarola di Budrio; Bologna, Italia, 2021
Vaughn Davis Jr. (St. Louis, MO) earned his BFA in sculpture from Webster University in St. Louis. He enjoys the act of deconstruction by ripping, tearing, smushing and distorting his canvases in order to open them up, release flatness and free them. His work in this show reflects the color of intense yellow sunflowers that are just about to bloom outside the villa. He had a solo show at Dragon, Crab and Turtle in March 2021 and has been featured in mattoni rossi, an Italian publication dedicated to culture and the arts.
Vaughn Davis Jr., Installation views, Bagnarola di Budrio; Bologna, Italia, 2021
Bianca Fields (Kansas City, MO) earned her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Fine Arts. She enjoys exploring and exaggerating animal faces and cartoon characters, and her work often stems from capturing original details from the eyes, whiskers, fangs and hands of select creatures. She had a solo show that included paintings, drawings and soft sculpture at Dragon, Crab and Turtle in April 2021.