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b. 1966, Brooklyn, New York
Ricci Albenda was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1966. He earned his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence in 1988. Albenda's white built-in sculptures simulate an illusion that the gallery walls have begun to bulge, pinch, or warp. Part of his ongoing Portals to Another Dimension series, initiated in 1998, these concave and convex architectural interventions suggest forces beyond three-dimensional experience encroaching on our known universe. Albenda further problematizes the accepted rigidity of the built environment with trompe l'oeil projections and paintings that visually distort flat surfaces. For example, in 2005 the artist painted a mural for the lobby at the Hyatt Center in Chicago that creates the illusion of a hallway on an otherwise flat wall.
Concurrent to his architectural concerns, throughout his career Albenda has experimented with text as an entity that is at once visual and linguistic, personal and collective, sensual and intellectual. Most of his text paintings adhere to an “alphabetic colorization system” called COLOR-I-ME-TRY, conceived by the artist in 1996 and revised in 2004, which mathematically codes each letter according to the color spectrum. Other text pieces, like stereo! (1998) and ocean., analyst., pistol., yellow., chimpanzee.. (2001) use black lettering and appear to recede into deep space through perspectival illusion, thereby uniting the artist's interest in text and his engagement with the fluidity of the visual experience of space.
Solo exhibitions of Albenda's work have been mounted at Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York (1998, 2001, 2004, and 2007), Van Laere Contemporary Art in Antwerp (1999 and 2000), Museum of Modern Art in New York (2001), and The Horticultural Society of New York (2008). Albenda's work has also been included in Stand-Ins at P.S.1 in New York (1992), Fluxus Attitudes at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (1993), Elysian Fields at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (2000), SITE Santa Fe (2004), Supervision at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (2006), and Shapes of Space at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2007). In 1999 the artist was awarded The Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award. Albenda lives and works in New York.