Gerasimos Floratos lives and works near Times Square, in the diverse and vibrant neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen. His Greek-American parents run a Deli there; the artist has set up his studio downstairs, connected to the outside world only by basement windows through which he can just perceive the feet of passers-by and bustle of the city.
As both an internal production tool and observation point of the outside, the studio has become the matrix of his work, which oscillates between the private and the public, between isolation and togetherness.
At the end of August, Gerasimos Floratos came out to stay with me on Fire Island, where I’d been spending the summer. We’d had similar vacation encounters before – at my home in the California redwoods, and on the Greek island of Kefalonia, where Floratos occasionally lives and works.
Gerasimos Floratos’ paintings and sculptures play with the idea of site specificity and the notion of what it means to be ‘rooted’ in a single place. His works employ pyscho-figurative bodies as mechanisms for charting space in many forms; psychogeography of the globalised world, societies or microcosms built through commonalities of practice, and the internal space of the mind.
Gerasimos Floratos’s solo show at Armada, “Soft Bone Journey,” is comprised of three large paintings in oil and acrylic, and three sculptures, each the size of a person, made of painted styrofoam. (All works are from 2017.) The colors are bold—canary yellow, acid green, pinkish orange. His approach to both mediums—simple lines, rapid gestures, rounded forms—has the feel of street art, a style that seems all too familiar, yet remains utterly foreign.
Gerasimos Floratos, who was born in New York City in 1986 and grew up in an apartment overlooking Times Square, self-assuredly fills the gallery’s space with large-scale paintings and three sculptures, all made with bold and decisive hues, and all vaguely reminiscent of street art. The paintings hint at figuration without coalescing into a linear narrative. Their emotive bodies are alter egos for Floratos, who develops his own personal language and pursues an internal investigation of sorts through the canvases.
Gerasimos Floratos is an artist living and working in New York City. His newest exhibition, “Soft Bone Journey,” opens November 21 at Armada in Milan. In 2016 he staged solo exhibitions at White Columns in New York and Pilar Corrias in London. This Consumer Report finds Floratos in London for unspecified reasons. Here, he spends a week drawing, eating takeout, and looking at art, among other activities.
Through his expressive paintings, Gerasimos Floratos (b 1986, New York) produces a theatrical and abstract depiction of his New York life, experienced from behind the register of his family’s deli in Times Square. Walking through the streets, or looking out through the window of a moving taxi, he sees himself as part of an ecosystem of people, experiences and images that come together in his paintings to form one character, created with a heavy application of coloured oil paint in bold, curving lines.
As objects, Floratos’s paintings appear slapdash with their crooked stretcher frames and puckered canvases. But this funky presentation nicely compliments the artist’s quasi-abstracted, cartoonish style and penchant for squashed compositions depicting an odd range of subjects, from New York street characters and scenes to Greek mythology.
Even the most spectacularly located childhood home is bound to feel mundane. Thus, growing up above his father’s deli in Times Square was nothing special to Gerasimos Floratos. As a kid, he performed dance moves on the sidewalks around West 47th Street for extra money: “Kind of my own version of selling lemonade,” he says.