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Ross Simonini at Shrine

To view Ross Simonini’s paintings is to dive into a bespoke world of characters that operate by their own logic. Rendered in muted blues, oranges, and reds, his paintings depict playful characters that swirl together, each taking an idiosyncratic form — errant floating head, blobby worm man — and staring nonplussed at the viewer with a dopey smile. 

Simonini fills the canvas with these creatures, which puzzle-piece together into lively, teeming masses. To call the playful paintings child-like would be to minimize their refined compositions and eerie qualities (within these cartoon utopias, something always feels a bit off). His use of milk paint gives the painting’s surface a chalky quality, and the depiction of his characters ranges from crisp and graphic to blobby and barely there, as if viewing the painting through a fog. Together, the range of paintings on view at Shrine presents a peek into Simonini’s unique methodology of world-building. 

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Photo: Ross Simonini, The Ins (2023). Milk paint, egg tempera, and graphite on muslin in walnut frame, 35 x 59 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Shrine.