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Tony Matelli's sculptures are seductive and illusory. Whether its a self-portrait made of decomposing meat, a pile of money aflame but not burning up, or the most quotidian looking weeds made entirely of bronze, Matelli is able to embody growth and decay, love, injustice, a precarious economic time or a very subjective self-portrait. A romanticism built with hyperrealism.
Matelli's Weeds have a menacing presence within the gallery space, a space specifically designed to be empty of context and essentially invisible. Growing between the cracks and in the holes of modern society, they are social signifiers of abandonment and neglect. Matelli crafts the weeds in bronze. Each a unique statement. They pose a question for the viewer as well as an experience.
Manufacturer: Tony Matelli
Human Condition, Los Angeles, California John Wolf
Incorporating figurative, botanical, and abstract forms in his sculpture, Tony Matelli creates uncanny objects that are both unsettling and comical. His bronze sculptures feature ropes frozen in mid-air, as if the ropes were dropped on a plinth and cast just before collapsing into inert coils. Other works rely on unusual juxtapositions, such as his weeds series in which plants sprout from the space between gallery walls and floors. Across his oeuvre, and particularly in his mirror paintings, Matelli discards traditional genre categories in favor of experiential concerns. “I like sculpture because it’s unwieldy, and there is a resistance to decoration in sculpture that I like,” Matelli has said. “Genres are at the service of ideas, not the other way around.”
American, b. 1971, Chicago, Illinois, based in New York, New York