Fabrik

THE CRITICAL EYE by Phil Tarley

THE NEW presents Mattia Biagi: WHITE LIGHT/PITCH BLACK. The show will run from March 4 through April 14, 2017. An Opening Reception will be held on Saturday March 4, 2017 6-8 pm.

Twentieth, one of the most artful repositories of limited edition interior design works in Los Angeles, has opened an adjacent art gallery called THE NEW. Launched by Stefan Lawrence, founder of Twentieth, Saturday night’s THE NEW opening features THE NEW works from Mattia Biagi, from a series called: WHITE LIGHT/PITCH BLACK . Pitch Black is a word pun to describe the tar or pitch Biagi uses to coat each of his works with a sexy, black, viscous veneer.

 

White Light/Pitch Black exhibition celebrates an art punk aesthetic of recontextualizing familiar objects and subverting longstanding symbols of culture and domestic life. The dynamics of transformation is a driving concept and process behind Biagi’s work, in particular the transformative power of coating everyday objects with layers of tar. In this context the decorative baroque chandelier, the ultimate symbol of domestic luxury, has its symbolic and cultural value subverted and transformed into an object of unexpected dark beauty, made all the more mysterious by the addition of a single minimal, modern light source penetrating it. The chandelier remains a light source, but not at all with the same meaning or purpose it once had. Its purpose has been undermined and yet somehow made more sublime through a mysterious rather than ostentatious beauty.

Alongside the chandeliers are a new series of round paintings. Here the transformative power of tar is explored on its own terms, as the singular materiality of painting. The black disks are reminiscent of vinyl records, an indirect reference to another type of domestic object. While on one level these minimal yet richly textured tar forms conjure dark themes like voids or black holes, they simultaneously invoke the opposite, their perfect geometric circularity referencing solid presence, totality and completion.

No quite solid and not at all liquid, these objets live in a strange, glossy meta-space. Biagi’s tarry works exist as seductive, unearthly delights.

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Phil Tarley is a fellow of the American Film Institute and a member of the Photographic Arts Council. Tarley writes about contemporary art and pop culture and curates photography for the AC Gallery, in Los Angeles. His book, Going Down on Cuba: Notes from an Underground Traveler, is slated for publication by Fabrik Press in 2017.

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