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First U.S. museum solo exhibition of sculptor Tony Matelli opens at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College
Tony Matelli, Josh, 2010. Silicon, steel, hair and clothing, 72" x 30" x 22". Hall Collection.
WELLESLEY, MASS.- Tony Matelli: New Gravity, the artist’s first solo exhibition at a U.S museum, opened at the Davis Museum on February 5, 2014. Comprised of recent works from the past five years as well as new works created specifically for the Davis, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s discursive use of time, ambivalence, banality and wonder. In Matelli’s work the physical laws of objects are often reversed, upended or atomized, and with these deft manipulations of matter and gravity come profound reorientations in perspective and ways of seeing. Matelli creates a distortion field of sorts, a lens through which to question one reality and create another.

Installed in two parts at the Davis, the exhibition also sites two sculptures (Sleep Walker and Stray Dog) outdoors on campus. Tony Matelli: New Gravity on view February 5 - May 11, in the Bronfman & Chandler Galleries; and February 5 - July 20 in the Jobson & Tanner Galleries. The exhibition is free and open to the general public.

“Tony Matelli is a trader in combinatory illusions, a skilled manipulator of the restless mediation between metaphor, meaning and truth,“ said Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis and curator of the exhibition. “His works are persistently surprising, inventive, powerful and playful – evoking complex sensations and inviting multiple viewings. We are delighted to present his first U.S. museum exhibition at the Davis and to introduce New England audiences to his work.”

Often employing a hyper-realistic idiom, Matelli’s work challenges our perceptions of reality. His sculptures create a disconcerting tension between uneasiness and humor, frequently suspending time and belief. Matelli imbues his art with layers of familiarity and discomfort, employing remarkable skill and technique to create works that ask us to take a critical look at ourselves and at the culture around us.

“There is a romantic impulse in my work, that strives to give form to my emotions and thoughts and the way I see the world,” commented Matelli. “I’m fascinated with that moment when you become aware of a perceptual shift in your environment, so what was a seemingly real-life experience becomes a complicated art experience. That approach to art is really powerful. It makes everything else seem like a prop that only pointed to an idea. The precision of praxis has a great impact on me, and my work operates in that spirit.”

Tony Matelli’s work is in numerous private and public collections including the Cranbrook Art Museum; FLAG Art Foundation; ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum; the National Centre of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Fundacion La Caixa, Madrid; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and the Uppsala Konstmuseum, Sweden. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. A mid-career survey, Tony Matelli: A Human Echo, premiered at the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark in 2012 and traveled to the Bergen Kunstmuseum, Norway in 2013. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, and is represented by Marlborough Chelsea, New York and Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm.



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