NEW YORK CITY | Full disclosure: Thanks to LaGalleria’s director Matt Nasser, my artwork is included in “LaMaMa Family Show,” which runs December 19th through December 30th at LaMaMa La Galleria.
I submitted a photography installation, an excerpt from a larger installation called in the garden of One World. My artwork consists of a portrait, “Ode to a Farmer in Umbria,” and a six-panel photograph installation, called “Ripped,” which juts out from the wall to the floor. All of these photographs were taken near Trevi in central Italy. The farmer is the owner of a vineyard whom I met while I was exploring the area near Ellen Stewart‘s international arts center LaMaMa Umbria.
“Ripped,” the set of six photographs, is actually a portion of a larger installation “Garden of Solitude,” in which I imagine a garden path where you can find alone or me time. I took those six photos in the springs of the River Clitunno, situated near the town of Trevi and the city of Spoleto. The springs are immersed in an enchanting oasis of peace which has inspired generations of poets from Virgil to Carducci. In ancient times there was a greater abundance of water, and the river was deeper. Emperor Caligula could go the river with boats when he came and consulted the oracles of Clitunno, the god of the river. There is a small Etrusco-Italian temple made from chalky limestone nearby. There on the river banks, every year, took place religious feasts with competitions, theatrical performances and gladiatorial matches. Sometimes the spring are referred to as Caligula’s baths. By incorporating a jock strap, a dumb bell and a flower, “Ripped” is actually a naughty response to the very notion that this oasis was once a site of great decadence.
Federico Restrepo, the Colombian designer and puppeteer, has a wiry beast sculpture that may be one of the most intriguingly titled pieces in the show. It is made of aluminum wire and acrylic on canvas, and it is called “Ellen.”
On a brick wall, Potri Ranka Manis shrouds her painting with a swathe of mystery and mythic lore. She calls it “Hope for the flowers.”
Several pieces are directly about the holidays. Ozzie Rodriguez contributes “Winter-Light Xmas,” a beautiful painting of blue shapes on a large white canvas that at first strikes the eye as imposing and then becomes more contemplative in mood. As you walk into the space, you immediately see David Adams’s “Christmas Tree.” And Valois Mickens puts forward a wonderfully executed “Nativity 2012” near the church pew.
I am also a fan of Brenden Michael’s “Untitled” installation: a vertical tower of triangular prisms made out of folded European magazine pages.
And how could you miss Volodymyr Klyuzko’s dazzling “Photo Patterns” from Carpathians? This Kiev-based artist took photographs of everyday scenes and figures of life in the Carpathian Mountain villages during Yara Arts Group‘s research trip to the Ukraine in August 2012. And then he transformed these photos into a series of visual patterns that that wrap the edge of a gallery wall. You have to see it for yourself. It is so gorgeous.
Forty LaMaMa artists are featured in the “Family Show”. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday 1:00-7:30 PM. La Galleria is located on 6 East First Street, between Second Avenue and Bowery.
Happy holidays! — rg, in the theater of One World
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