On view right now in Exquisitely Modern: 50 Works from Herbert and Dorothy Vogel is a painting that appeals to contemporary art aficionados and salty-dog fishermen alike (though the two groups are not mutually exclusive!). Grouper by Daniel Trivieri makes people stop and look. Fish and lace? What does this mean?

Here’s what Curator of European and American Art Theresa Papanikolas wrote about the artist and his two works in the exhibition:

After attending Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute and Mohawk Valley College in Utica, New York, in the late 1970s, Daryl Trivieri moved to Manhattan and, like Mark Kostabi—with whom he remains close friends—became deeply involved in the East Village gallery scene. To support himself, he worked as a science fiction illustrator; the heightened precision associated with that genre influenced his work as a painter.

Trivieri makes intricate compositions that (contrary to appearances) are not the product of an elaborate photomechanical process, but the result of a meticulous painterly method. Using airbrush, surface drawing, and scraping, he brings forth densely layered and often disparate images that evoke 1970s photorealism and transcend its emotional neutrality. In Sleep, gestural marks and scratches are superimposed over the hazy image of a figure in bed, conjuring the often anxious space between wakefulness and dreaming, while the central protagonist in Grouper peers balefully from behind a swatch of cloth, whose laciness menacingly (for the fish, at least) suggests a table set for dinner.

Daryl Trivieri
American, born 1957
Grouper, 1990
Oil and airbrush on gessoed ground
15⅞ x 25⅞ inches
HAA 31514