So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test
Marlborough Contemporary is pleased to present So I turned myself to face me, a group show that explores how a work of art reflects back on the viewer in an act of self contemplation. Taking its title from David Bowie’s song Changes, the exhibition examines the vernacular through which artists interpret contemporary culture whilst re-evaluating established genres and conventions.
Jackie Saccoccio’s work follows the tradition of action painting and abstract expressionism, reclaiming the masculine territory that is commonly associated with the genre. David Czupryn’s paintings revisit surrealism; their flatness and digital aesthetic executed by hand, using a traditional painterly technique. Tony Matelli subverts the logic of classical sculpture with formally unexpected juxtapositions and Charlie Roberts’ contemporary figurative watercolour paintings refer to a range of sources from mannerism to graffiti via Hammershøi.
Exploring youth and youth culture in his paintings, Roberts’ social observations are laid down with a dream like quality. In Lavender Juice the subject is literally looking back at herself and the viewer in the mirror in an act of self-confrontation.
Lorimer street shows a group of young adults lounging around on a bed, smoking, reading art magazines and surfing the web on an Apple laptop. The artist often feeds off signs, symbols and icons present in today’s visual landscape. Frequently jumping subject matter and style, Roberts’ work reflects the scattered mind of today’s Instagram addict. By its very nature, pop-culture is already in the process of becoming outdated and displaced.
Tony Matelli’s mirror piece Hearts and Faces offers the most literal form of looking back, the smeared surface prevents a direct reflection and complicates the vision of self, subverting subjective clarity. Matelli’s Warrior is a classical male nude. The artist’s medium is a Duchampian readymade – a generic concrete garden sculpture which he heavily treats with a sandblaster to achieve an excessively decayed look. The sculpture reveals its inside and looks back at the viewer despite missing facial features.
Warrior also triggers historical references, such as the Greek Riace bronzes. Matelli plays with the classical form by placing remnants of a lobster on its head and shoulder. The debris, being made of cast bronze and painted bright orange, emphasises the random juxtaposition of highly recognisable elements. It is also a humorous reference to the original Riace bronzes; raised from the depths of the ocean, where they had lain for over a thousand years, their smooth bronze surfaces were covered by accretions of marine residue.
Jackie Saccoccio’s large abstractions only appear to be non-representational at first sight.
Looking at portraiture for inspiration, her painting functions as the retinal afterimage, no longer representational but somehow referring to given forms. There is something unreadable to the viewer that might appear abstract, but functions in a more rigorous way. The central circular element subconsciously conjures up the outlines of a face. Saccoccio’s painting reflects the desire often felt to read for a human presence in the work, despite its apparent abstraction.
Using her own physical force, Saccoccio lifts and turns each canvas transferring paint from one to the other but instead of thick expressionist clusters, thin fluid paint is running over the canvas’ surface from various sides forming an infinite constellation of patterns. The stroke and its origins are impossible to trace. There is no beginning and no end. The work is the result of the artist’s spiritual quest trying to connect with space.
David Czupryn’s work looks back uncannily at the viewer, hovering between representation and abstraction. The painting exudes tension by being impossible to resolve formally. Having begun his career as a sculptor, Czupryn decided to focus on painting, revisiting his previous sculptures as source material. Czupryn paints the three dimensional in a hyper-flat illusionist technique, creating surface tension and contributing to the viewer’s suspense. The artist limits and manipulates perspective, building up the background with materials such as wooden or marble boards. The objects in the foreground seem to protrude from the surface of the canvas; haunting paintings that reflect back at a puzzled viewer.
David Czupryn Born 1983 in Germany. Lives and works in Duesseldorf.
BFA under Georg Herold at Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (2011), Meisterbrief under Lucy McKenzie at Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (2011-2013), MFA under Tomma Abts at Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (2015). Recent exhibitions include Spotlight: David Czupryn, Artuner, online (2016); Imagine, Londonewcastle Projectspace, London, curated by Tomma Abts and Alastair Mackinven (2015); Die mit der Liebe spielen, Old Palazzo, Brescia, group show organised by A+B Gallery (2014).
Tony Matelli Born in 1971 in Chicago. Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
He received his BFA in 1993 from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and an MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1995. Recent solo exhibitions include Garden, Marlborough Chelsea, New York (2015); Tony Matelli, New Gravity, The Davis Museum at Wellesley College, MA (2014); Tony Matelli: A Human Echo, Bergen Kunstmuseum, Bergen (2013); Windows, Walls and Mirrors, Leo Koenig Inc, New York (2012). Recent group exhibitions include Unrealism curated by Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian, Miami (2015), Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York (2015); Eagles II, Galeria Marlborough, Madrid (2015); Broadway Morey Boogie, Marlborough Chelsea, New York (2014); Baroque, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, Stockholm (2014).
Charlie Roberts Born 1984 in Kansas, US. Lives and works in Oslo.
Education at Kansas University (2002-2003) and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver (2003-2005). Recent solo exhibitions include Juicy XXL, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen (2015); Palm Palm, Randall Scott Projects, Baltimore (2015); K.I.D.S., Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica (2014); Hex, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm (2014). Recent group exhibitions include Art on paper, Randall Scott Projects, New York (2015); Frieze Art Fair, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, New York (2015); People Staring, Kravets/Wehby Gallery, New York (2014).
Jackie Saccoccio Born 1963 in Providence, RI. Lives and works in New York and Connecticut. She received her BFA in Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, in 1985 and her MFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1988. Recent solo exhibitions include Degree of Tilt, Eleven Rivington, New York and Van Doren Waxter, New York (2015); Echo, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; Eleven Rivington, Solo booth, Art Brussels, Belgium (2015). Recent group exhibitions include Confronting the Canvas: Women of Abstraction, MOCA Jacksonville, FL (2016); Abstraction: A visual language, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago (2015); Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler, curated by Katy Siegel, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (2015); Abstract America, Saatchi Gallery, London (2014).