Published September 21, 2020
Cos Zicarelli's early work has been flippantly labeled as deviant, macabre, and dark, even anti-christ. Given his Nazi, horror movie, and black metal references, it's not a surprise. All this death and black gruesomeness from his art of 10 years ago was all likely in sincere good fun, an attraction to the uneasy tension of the imagery, his antidote to an art scene ruled by suryalists or social realists, high modern abstractionists, and conceptual artists. It's that kid with the shirt featuring the most offensive death metal band and likes reading about serial killers and strange true-to-life stories and conspiracies covered up by history. A geek and a freak, so to speak. Rhyme intended.
What he most definitely brings from those early days is graphite, the seductive worked-over surfaces he produces, something that's most evident in his large scale pencil works that mimic doors, wood grain, and wallpaper. The easy word, one that most likely comes up nowadays, is elegant. The seduction extends to other substances from faux gold, to glass panes, to flourescent glows, to varnished wood. Much like his pencil drawings, details and elements of these assemblages and paintings are subsumed into an overall quality of a material. They all verge on the abstract, the monochrome, save for being staged or contextualized in sublime sets -- eerie emptiness, mystery, or the not-so-ordinary in the ordinary and the far-reaching cosmic or ancient. And so he teases his works, for instance, as ghosts, mounds, and fragments of a billion years.
Costantino Zicarelli "creates works that offer a glimpse into the future or the unknown. He has shown a profound interest in patterns as evident in his large-scale wood grain drawings in graphite and in wallpaper-like paintings on canvas. Working across installation, sculpture, drawing, and painting, he has done exhibitions in Manila, Singapore, Malaysia, Norway, and New York. He received the Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Award in 2012 and the Ateneo Art Awards in 2017 and 2019, for which he was awarded a residency at Liverpool Hope University in 2018, and will go on residency at La Trobe University in Australia in 2020."