I Check You Press Release

Opening of “I Check You” exhibition at Munch Gallery
New works by Rauha Mäkilä and Geraldine Visco
April 21 - May 22, 2011
Opening reception April 21, 2011, 6-9 pm

Contact: Lillan Munch, 212.228.1600, info@munchgallery.com


New York, New York, April 4, 2011 – I check you, you check me. Check night, check day. Electrifying colors, a lady’s leg, flashed socialites and aftermath stories. Munch Gallery presents the much-anticipated exhibition “I Check You”, featuring Finnish painter Rauha Mäkilä and New York photographer Geraldine Visco. The artists dig below the surface of city life and the superficial commercialized life and bring us stories of urban love and war. Their portraits are at times merciless, but never without tenderness for the subject. The exhibition will be up from April 21 through May 22. 


Geraldine Visco Artist Statement:
Do you want to know who I am? My favorite word is motherfucker, I have fabulous hair and teeth and love outrageous outfits, my last name ends in a vowel, and I live at Visco Disco on the Upper East Side. I’ve been called “crazy, sexy, cool,” “wild woman,” and “a piece of work.”  All I know is I landed on this earth into an Italian-Irish family in the suburbs of Boston during the 1950s and moved to New York City in 1974 when things were gritty, but there was also an exhilarating sense of glamour and danger in the air—those of us brave enough to move to Manhattan felt like pioneers. I started out as an actor, writer, and fashion designer who earned my keep as a sex worker and switched to a day job at Macy’s and later Columbia University, where I’ve earned three degrees. When I hit fifty or so, after a variety of bad relationships that stalled my progress, I vowed to resume my work in the arts and gave up sleeping and housework. Because I’m diagnosed as ADHD and hypomanic, I have no problem juggling a day job with performing, writing a weekly column for New York Press, and taking hundreds of photographs a week.

For me, photography is important on many levels. It’s documentation of a moment in time, of people and places but I never forget it’s a visual expression. Framing the shot and capturing the essence of my subject is everything. When people call me a photographer, it’s still a novelty since I only began taking photos 6 years ago. Taking pictures is definitely an integral part of my performance art and writing—they’re all linked to express the inner Gerry Visco. I get a big kick out of the fact that here I am in my middle years, suddenly being labeled as an artist and my work is getting a positive reaction. It’s never too late, bitch!


Rauha Mäkilä Artist Statement:
Outside it’s so damn gray again. The snow is melting and slush is flying. How am I supposed to think about anything else than grey. Where are all the colours? At least not in Helsinki. I would just like to wrap up in a blanket and look at pointless teen tv-series. In them the sun is always shining, the colours are just right and the amount of bare skin is appropriate. Or on the other hand, who says it’s pointless, in each episode some problem is solved. Where to buy new clothes, who to kiss on the weekend, who did what and who did who... problems that don’t need to be solved. So, like yeah that’s where I get all the colours for my paintings. Maybe even the subjects. And beside this I read a bunch of fashion and men’s magazines. These days 70s soft porn magazines and Jallu are my favourites. They have nice colours and poses, the attitude I am not so sure of.  And then I hang out online, read blogs, am amazed by the flow of images. And the exposed skin. It’s so normal nowadays; you can just shrug your shoulders and forget about it. Obscenity and mysteriousness have become decent and everyday. Nothing really surprises you anymore. You don’t feel anything anymore. It’s exciting to create art about that. Superficiality and surface. Exterior and promises.

I guess, I am part of a generation that runs away from responsibilities and lives a prolonged youth. I read something like that in a magazine. But on the other hand painting is really, really hard. It takes time; it doesn’t just happen like that – it calls for both technique and content. How do you fit that into the quest for eternal youth and the avoiding of becoming an adult? That is what I try to do, I guess, to bring Beverly Hills 90210 and Gossip Girl to the canvas with a little True Blood to spice it up. To penetrate the surface, to give it relevance. To love the present and to find a meaning to all of this. I mean, I admire popular culture, because I am so this generation. And I feel and wonder and do not just want to shrug my shoulders.