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Barbati Gallery exhibits new sculptures by Kelly Akashi at the Palazzo Lezze
Kelly Akashi, Life Forms. Photo: Marco Cappelletti / Barbati Gallery.



VENICE.- Barbati Gallery is presenting the gallery's first exhibition, Life Forms, a solo presentation of new sculptures by Los Angeles native Kelly Akashi. Taking place at the Palazzo Lezze on Campo Santo Stefano in the heart of Venice, the exhibition is on view from April 20 through July 4, 2022.

Embodied in the formation of the works in Life Forms are markers of impermanence and legacy shared through generations of material knowledge and craftsmanship. This reciprocity of ideas and techniques tethers the artist to a greater multigenerational endowment.

Flanking the entrance are four glass and bronze works produced in Murano and Los Angeles. For the artist, working in Venice allowed her to experience the original rhythm, technique, and language unique to Murano and to infuse and expand the techniques she developed in the US with those of the medium’s origins. These sculptures surround a bronze blanket that indexes the topography of a human figure. Constructed from hand-crocheted flowers that were individually cast in bronze and knit back together through welding, Heirloom represents an exchange of tradition, culture, and community.

Geological strata are used as a recurring motif in the artist’s symbolism and handling of materials. April 2022 - Scarpa Graveyard; Murano (Matteo); Buona Pasqua Giudecca; Pearl uses a bronze cast of the artist's hand as a vessel for objects gathered in Venice during the preparation for her exhibition. This open work functions as a receptacle of personal and cultural memory that expands and sediments into an archive of experience. The casts of her hands–often featured in her artworks–catalog unique moments of presence and draw relationships between the human, floral, and animal worlds.

Floret is grounded by a large-scale slab of terrazzo, modeled after the floors of the Palazzo Lezze and the pavement of the city of Venice. The terrazzo foundation supports five hand-blown glass objects produced in Murano with the aid of maestro Matteo Tagliapietra. These forms utilize different chemical and physical properties that are traditional to Murano, such as murrine, merletto, as well as alchemical colors like avventurina, which extend into models of growth and connection. The patterns are based on plant cell specimens using techniques of pigmenting, stretching, and tiling of cut pieces of glass. Tethered by local boating rope, these individual 'florets' are bound together in an ecosystem of growth, cultivation, and metamorphosis.

In the central exhibition space, three sculptures (Lily; Fireweed; Red Poppy) are scattered throughout the room, supported by spiraling armatures. The armatures articulate meandering growth that symbolize circular models of time. This exchange of information, represented by the flowers, has been integral to the artist’s understanding of glass. These three flowers appear again in Triple Time Twine, where they loop and link together to form a network of balanced interdependence.

Kelly Akashi (b. 1983, Los Angeles, California) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; CC Foundation, Shanghai; X Museum, Beijing; The Perimeter, London; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Sifang Museum, Nanjing, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Frye Art Museum among others. Her upcoming exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art opens in September 2022; it will then travel to multiple museums in the US.

Life Forms (April 20 - July 4, 2022) is the artist's first solo exhibition in Italy.










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