A vase of lilies stands precariously upended on a finished wooden pedestal. A flawless object. One gets the feeling that the flowers are poised there like a dancer - as opposed to a monument of a moment before a catastrophe. Their elegance and improbability are entangled. The lily is a flower laden with symbolism in Western art – everything from chastity and purity to the innocence of the soul after death. Here it is again then, but new.
The mirrors on the walls look as if they are in need of cleaning. Dust has settled on them due to neglect and the gestures and scrawl found on their surface appear to be whimsical marks left by various transients. Matelli creates them by an assiduous stencil process of layering urethane and acid on the surface of the mirror. He permanently fixes the meaningless scrawl as a transparent image which one is forced to mediate ones own image through. A type of filter that interferes and obscures.
Then we have canvases composed of wall rubbings with the “Tony Matelli Studio LLC” letterhead at the top. An odd form of self-portrait of the artist as business. The rubbings are of the artist's studio: the 'inside world' of the artist. A joke perhaps but a sober one at that. And bronze ropes draping over pedestals as if the sculptor insists that gestures can be more than marks from a brush.
Tony Matelli was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1971. His work is included in numerous public collections including the Cranbrook Art Museum, Cranbrook, MI; FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA; ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Copenhagen; National Centre of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Fundacion La Caixa Madrid, Spain; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and the Uppsala Museum, Uppsala, Sweden. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at Leo Koenig, New York; the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Uppsala Konstmuseum, Uppsala, Sweden, and a mid-career survey at the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark in 2012. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.