NABI GALLERY, 137 West 25th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001

Romantically Surreal

Mixed-media constructions by Chong Gon B´yun and Will Ryan, bas-reliefs by Giglio Dante, and sculpture by John Philip Capello were on view in February and March, 2005.

Chong Gon B´yun is a Korean-born artist, now living in Brooklyn, whose creations speak of longing, loss, the perplexities of life in the modern age, and the clash of cultures: old and new, Asian and Western. They are formed out of old or mysterious objects—antique picture frames or boxes, sepia photos, obscure scientific instruments, camera lenses, violins, crystal balls—together with illusionistic painted images. The work has been widely exhibited in Asia, Europe, and the US, and is currently featured in a solo exhibit at the Korean Cultural Center in New York.

Chong Gon B´yun, St. Exupéry, mixed media, 32x32x9, 2001

John Philip Capello, who lives in Sag Harbor, L.I., is a self-taught sculptor with a classical mastery of his craft and a romantic intuition. He is a direct carver, working without sketches, who begins each piece with no preconception of what it will ultimately be, only a determination to find out “what the stone wants to say.” The form he finds within the marble after months of painstaking labor is always startlingly lifelike but at the same time fantastic, often a blend of human and animal forms, with multiple faces, on a theme from ancient mythology or history.


John Philip Capello, Owl, Indiana limestone, 15x14x8, 2004

Giglio Dante was born in Rome, the son of a muralist who trained him from an early age in painting and sculpture, and who often assigned his nimble apprentice the task of clambering up rickety scaffolds to work on the plaster figures in cathedral ceilings. As a teenager he moved to Boston with his family and soon began making a name for himself as an artist. His first one-man show was in 1944 and was followed by many others in Boston, New York, and East Hampton, L.I., where he moved in 1981.

Over the years Dante has worked in a variety of forms, including the acrylic paintings the Nabi featured in its previous show. The bas-reliefs in the new exhibit combine his classical training with an exuberant, modern sensibility, their gesso surfaces etched and molded to suggest mysterious faces, dancers, acrobats, and sensuous nude forms.


Giglio Dante, Cybele, bas relief in gesso, 24x20, 2000

There is a touch of eroticism too in the mixed-media constructions of Will Ryan, which often include a mysterious photographic image nested within swathes of fabric, objects such as bones and jewels, and luxurious frames. A musician as well as a visual artist, Mr. Ryan combines a career as a commercial photographer in New York with the more personal vision he practices at his studio in Amagansett, L.I.


Will Ryan, Her, mixed media, 16x16, 2004

Chong Gon Byun

John Philip Capello

Giglio Dante

Will Ryan

Will Ryan's Web Site

Three Views of the Installation