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Burning Desire

Michael Mazzeo Gallery
508 West 26th Street, No. 318, 212-741-6599
March 18 - April 24, 2010
Reception: Thursday, March 18, 6 - 8 PM
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Michael Mazzeo Gallery is pleased to present Burning Desire, a group exhibition of photographs, works on paper, glass sculpture and book works. Whether literally or metaphorically, this innovative and diverse group of artists address the nature of burning as it relates to their personal and unique methodologies.

The exhibition features work by Marina Berio, Doug Beube, Marco Breuer, Davide Cantoni, Eric William Carroll, Caleb Charland, Stan Gaz, Chris McCaw and Amanda Means.

Marina Berio’s tunnels, roads and views from a car window are large scale charcoal drawings of her photographic negatives. The carbon and ash medium echoes the darkened silver particles of the photographic image in which tonalities are reversed. Darkness becomes diaphanous and bright light is defined as charred, voluminous void, alluding to death and destruction, loss and doubt.

Doug Beube confronts issues of fear and propaganda with his elaborately constructed book works. Vest of Knowledge consists of sixty four altered books, sliced and formed into cylindrical shapes, sealed with wax and connected in sequence by black and red wires. Resembling pipe bombs, each tube is situated within the individual pockets of one of four transparent vinyl vests, referencing the proverbial suicide vest. Rather than death and destruction, the explosions of these devices would disperse knowledge and understanding throughout the blast area.

Marco Breuer challenges the basic tenets of image-making and reproduction with his innovative cameraless photographic images. Created by subjecting photographic paper to a variety of destructive and abusive forces, his prints are indexical images of action and reaction. Untitled (Heat Gun), is a unique silver gelatin print in undulating tones of grays and copper.

Davide Cantoni uses newspaper photographs as source material, recreating scenes of war, natural disaster and other human tragedies, first by loosely sketching the image, then carefully redrawing with sunlight and magnifying glass. His elusive burn drawings are much like pictures in our memories- ephemeral, fragmented and crumbling, with entire areas of information often obliterated.

Eric William Carroll questions our persistent desire to photograph obvious, everyday occurrences, particularly the photographic cliché of the sunset. By physically altering and recontextualizing found and discarded snapshots, he attempts, not to describe or define the beauty of the sunset, but to challenge and re-imagine this ubiquitous genre.

Caleb Charland is driven by scientific curiosity and an endless sense of wonder. Working in the domestic arena with familiar materials, his performances involving temporal phenomena are compressed into a single photographic frame, effectively using time, gesture and fundamental forces to posit his experiences onto film. Silhouette with Matches documents the artist tossing hundreds of flaming matches into the air forming a parabolic cascade of fire and outlining the curiously transparent body of the artist.

Stan Gaz’s glass reliquaries are Momento Mori containing found images and family photographs reduced to ash. While hand-blown glass vessels are still in their molten state, he inserts photographs which immediately combust, lining the glass with a patina of photographic silver and leaving behind remnants of images and memories.

Chris McCaw documents the western landscape transformed by long exposures of the sun traversing the sky, scorching, and often burning its path completely through his silver gelatin photographic paper. The intense light further alters the image, paradoxically turning day into night. While recalling cosmic anomaly and prophetic revelation, each work remains a vivid graphic record of the rhythmic and potent forces of nature.

Amanda Means presents unique large format Polaroid images of incandescent light bulbs, precisely at the end of the era of simple mechanical and electronic devices. Using an array of color filters, and enlarging the bulb to monumental scale, she elevates thjs modest household item to the heroic status deserving of its significance. The light bulb, burning with a pulsating electrical current, evokes power, knowledge and ingenuity, but the images also offer nostalgia for the transparency and security associated with earlier times.
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