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Nino Mier Gallery
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Tony Matelli at Nino Mier Gallery


At Tony Matelli’s show at Nino Mier, the artist is present, admiring his show, wearing a humble sweatshirt and khakis dappled with paint. Look closer, and you’ll notice that the artist’s head has been ceremoniously severed from his body and has begun to slide off. Luckily, the hyper-realistic figure is in fact made of silicone and various prosthetics that create an extremely life-like approximation of Matelli (upon looking into the sculpture’s eyes, I was convinced for a minute that it would spring to life). 

Nearby, a nearly-identical piece portrays the artist with his head totally lopped off, balancing upturned on his shoulder. Similarly humorous touches — albeit more subtle — adorn a set of overturned bronze flower vases that splay and balance in precarious configurations. The pieces are immaculately cast and painted to mimic actual florals, yet their weight teeters impossibly, often with only one delicate point of contact at the base. If the hyperrealism of this work draws you in, the work’s philosophical underpinnings keep you looking. Both the floral and self-portrait pieces are bluntly titled “Arrangement,” interrogating the creation of the self in relation to the environment we build around us.  

On view: November 12 – December 23, 2022

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Photo: Tony Matelli, Arrangements (installation view). Image courtesy of Nino Mier Gallery.