It's Complicated

With his first exhibition in Milan opening today, Anthony Gerace breaks down his extensive collage-making process.

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Anthony Gerace likes to do things the hard way. The artist double-majored in graphic design and English literature in school, but instead of following a career path in either, he opted to create name for himself in Toronto by making zines and collages on his own. When the Canadian art scene started to feel too small for his ambitions, he packed up and moved to London for a change of pace. In a way, it's surprising, since the work he created there makes a strong argument for skipping the fast lane.

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Gerace's show opens today at Twenty14 gallery in Milan and will run until February 20. The show is a culmination of pieces from the past four years, including a brand-new series called Life. The survey starts with selections from a 2011 collage series called There Must Be More to Life Than This. The collages are built from cubical cutouts of vintage ads and film magazines that have been reorganized to obscure the original subject.

"I really liked the idea of works that relied on a single element as their basis," says Gerace. "I'm working with folding imagery in on itself." It's a distinct style: cityscapes fold into skies; portraits fade into their mundane backdrops; the American flag is consumed by the vastness for which it waves. Work from the series People Living (2011) finds Gerace creating cheekier, more layered collages, while the series Stakes (2013) was a return to his focus on cubic forms. Although definitely analog, the three series possess a trippy, almost pixelated quality.

Gerace's (uncollaged) photography will be on display, too. From his perspective, the two practices are easy bedfellows: "I think that collage and photography reinforce each other," he says. "One can't exist without the other." In both mediums, it's his attention to unique details that makes the work special. "[I'm into] old storefronts and these very classic houses, cars, typography, and signage," Gerace says. "I think there's something melancholy to those things."

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