I met a traveler from an antique land Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert… Near them, on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed; And on the pedestal these words appear: My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings, Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. -Percy Bysshe Shelley
Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Pentti Monkkonen and JP Munro in the project space. The artists both share an interest in appropriating forms and imagery from classical art.
Munro pursues a number of specific themes that evoke the grandiosity and mystery of ancient empires. These exotic ‘other’ worlds represent the way in which the past is unlike the present, essentially lost and unknowable. This feeling of lost meaning is reiterated in the paintings looking more like tapestries, a forgotten medium. The color and lines are applied in distinct flat layers. Depth is represented in the drawing, but the real depth occurs in the complexity of the superimposed layers of color. This is not airy Newtonian space of renaissance perspective but rather the plenum of contemporary digital space.
Monkkonen’s bronze and wood sculptures refer to both the statues and objects of ancient Greece and also to the nautical use of bronze as a corrosion resistant material. He makes connections that spring more from visual similarity than allegorical significance. Associations are made between the ramming prow of Ancient Greek ship and the “bulbous bow” that is standard in hull design of contemporary cargo ships. The Herm statue of ancient fertility rites is combined with a ships wooden steering wheel. An automaton satyr is positioned inside a bronze wheel that is equal parts Antikythera device and industrial age machinery.
Both Pentti Monkkonen and JP Munro live and work in Los Angeles. Monkkonen’s work has been exhibited at the Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles, 2007 and at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, 2000. Munro was included in the Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night, New York, and exhibited at the ICA, London, 2004.