To read my new review of the Rob Strati: Fragments exhibition, click on my link here: Rob Strati: Fragments

By Stephen Wozniak

Rob Strati
April 4–May 19, 2024

Fremin Gallery
520 West 23rd Street
Ground Floor
New York City, NY 10011
(212) 279-8555


After I move around the room and stop to look at a piece in artist Rob Strati’s new exhibition, Fragments, I can’t help but wonder what happened. Was it an accident or an argument? Was it fault-free or the result of caustic conflict? Were there steaming green peas rolling off the rim as it dropped to the ground, or was it clean-as-a-whistle, pulled from the cabinet and flung from the fingers? You see, Strati’s secondary medium is porcelain. Fine-dining  china plates, to be exact. Unlike the various cracked shards covered in goopy impasto oil paint that merely make up the ground of some hulking signature figurative works by, say, seasoned art star Julian Schnabel, Strati sees the classic imagery on the face of his china plate artworks as vital fractured narratives that require reevaluation and revision. With pen in hand, he opens the geometric monocolor motifs that ring the periphery of his shattered wares, extending line and form, providing a pathway for figures, flora and fauna to journey beyond their original houseware habitat.

A remarkable piece in the show is Strati’s red and white The Setting. Anchored by four sets of broken plates, this piece loosely creates a crucifix, replete with small splats, marks and ruddy drips that when viewed a few yards away come across as sacrificial blood. As I zero in on the intricately drawn artwork, I see flowers, ocean spray and helix formations—primary earthen building-block elements in their own way. The central hand-drawn image between the left and right plate pieces is a bridge interrupted by fanciful pen strokes and cloudy bursts suggesting a change in weather—literal, proverbial and otherwise. Here, Strati seems to evoke the emergence of hope in joining opposing factions, resolving their party lines and bridging the gap between differences—which is ironic because the drawn images derive from the same plate. Perhaps the message goes further, suggesting that our differences aren’t that great.

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