Spotlight 2: Tony Matelli

Alone Gallery is pleased to present a tightly focused solo exhibition by the celebrated hyperrealist artist Tony Matelli, featuring an important figurative sculpture and a series of wall-mounted mirror interventions. The artist continues to explore, with exacting precision, his favored themes of dislocation and existential limitation, along with an attendant reactive impulse for desecration.

At the center is Josh (2010), a casually dressed, supine male figure who is achieving a sort of transcendental lift-off—a regular guy achieving rapturous release from the bonds of gravity. Matelli achieves his own mode of transcendence through extraordinary engineering and craftsmanship. He uses realism as a powerful tool to short-circuit our expectations and open a viewer up to the deeper implications of an otherwise ordinary object or being.

While a search for meaning and escape can give us all hope, there is also a built-in frustration implied. How far can we get? Why is it so difficult to achieve a state of grace, a path to wisdom or true freedom? The artist is aware that most of us are reduced to reacting with base petulance and the mirror works, quite literally, reflect this. Built up through fixed layers of pigmented (and astonishingly dust-like) urethane, these gestural pieces enact a painterly expression of knee-jerk frustration and transgression. From the expected smiley faces and vulgarities, to swirling freeform lines, the mirrors form a chapel of ambivalence around the risen figure.

Taken together, these works telegraph Matelli’s commitment to art historical modes of sculpture, architecture and a manifestation of the spirit. But, when combined with his cutting-edge fabrication and contemporizing subjects, he creates a friction that is very much felt in our present moment.

Tony Matelli (b. 1971, Chicago, IL) is an American artist best known for his hyperreal depictions of figures in various forms of displacement, distress, and transformation. Focusing on themes of time, ambivalence, banality and wonder, Matelli’s work often manipulates the physical laws of objects—reversing, upending, atomizing and pausing in stasis, deftly manipulating matter and gravity—resulting in profound reorientations in perspective and, ultimately, states of being.

Matelli received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1995. He has had over 40 solo exhibitions including the Davis Museum, The State Hermitage Museum, and a mid-career survey at ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Denmark. His work is in numerous public collections that include the Davis Museum, MA; Cranbrook Art Museum, MI; FLAG Art Foundation, NY; ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus Denmark; the National Centre of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia; The Cultural Foundation Ekaterina, Moscow, Russia; Fundacion La Caixa Madrid, Spain; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Uppsala Konstmuseum, Uppsala, Sweden; Musee d’arte Contemporain Montreal, Canada; Bergen Kunstmuseum, Bergen, Denmark. The artist lives and works in New York City.

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Josh, 2010
Tony Matelli

Josh, 2010

silicone, steel, hair and clothing
30 x 74 x 22 inches
(76.2 x 188 x 55.9 cm)

Untitled (99¢), 2010
Tony Matelli

Untitled (99¢), 2010

urethane, vaporized metal
9 x 11 x 11 inches
(22.9 x 27.9 x 27.9 cm)

Tic Tac Toe, 2015
Tony Matelli

Tic Tac Toe, 2015

urethane on mirror
60 x 96 inches
(152.4 x 243.8 cm)

Eat Shit, 2015
Tony Matelli

Eat Shit, 2015

urethane on mirror
36 x 24 in.
91.44 x 60.96 cm CNON 56.620

Child, 2014
Tony Matelli

Child, 2014

urethane on mirror
60 x 96 inches
(152.4 x 243.8 cm)

Cunts, 2015
Tony Matelli

Cunts, 2015

urethane on mirror
96 x 60 in.
243.84 x 152.4 cm

Frowny Faces, 2015
Tony Matelli

Frowny Faces, 2015

urethane on mirror
96 x 60 in.
243.84 x 152.4 cm

Caesium Halite Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (White Girl Skag), 2019
Jonah Freeman + Justin Lowe

Caesium Halite Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (White Girl Skag), 2019

cast resin, minerals, paint
15 3/8 x 11 3/4 x 7 1/8 inches
(39.1 x 29.8 x 18.1 cm)

Inner Walker, 2019
Tomás Sánchez

Inner Walker, 2019

acrylic on linen
59 x 43.25 inches
(150 x 110 cm)

NOCTURNE, 1985
Ron Gorchov

NOCTURNE, 1985

oil on canvas
55 7/8 x 68 5/8 inches
(141.9 x 174.3 cm)

Bedroom Side Chair (Piece of Her That's Missing), 2015
Benjamin Keating

Bedroom Side Chair (Piece of Her That's Missing), 2015

cast aluminum
chair: 33.25 x 18 x 18 inches;
ottoman: 18.5 x 23.5 x 15 inches
(chair: 84.5 x 45.7 x 45.7 cm);
(ottoman: 47 x 59.7 x 38 cm)

View from the Rock, 2018
Keith Mayerson

View from the Rock, 2018

oil on linen
52 x 70 inches
(132.1 x 177.8 cm)

Vanishing Point, 2019
Kurt Gumaer

Vanishing Point, 2019

walnut and concrete
82 x 14 x 18 inches
(208.3 x 35.6 x 45.7 cm)

Pink Kimono, Isaac Mizrahi Series, 1994
Alex Katz

Pink Kimono, Isaac Mizrahi Series, 1994

oil on canvas
90 x 66 inches
(228.6 x 167.6 cm)

Eat Shit, 2015
Tony Matelli

Eat Shit, 2015

urethane on mirror
36 x 24 in.
91.44 x 60.96 cm CNON 56.620

Warrior Groupies (Kriegergroupies), 2012
Werner Büttner

Warrior Groupies (Kriegergroupies), 2012

oil on canvas
74.75 x 59 inches
(190 x 150 cm)

Margit, 1993
Alex Katz

Margit, 1993

90 x 66 inches
(228.6 x 167.6 cm)

Super Rigid Composition (Megastrenge Komposition), 2015
Werner Büttner

Super Rigid Composition (Megastrenge Komposition), 2015

oil on canvas
59 x 74.75 inches
(150 x 190 cm)

To Be Titled, 2012
Dan Colen

To Be Titled, 2012

steel studs on canvas
80 x 63 inches
(203.2 x 160 cm)

Nico Yektai