NEW YORK, NY (April 9, 2013) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Animanera, a series of new works on paper by Milan-based artist Marco Mazzoni, in what will be his debut solo exhibition in New York.
Combining organic shapes and textures with chiaroscuro contrasts in light and shadow, Mazzoni’s colored pencil drawings portray isolated female faces with features framed by flora and fauna. Striking a delicate balance between portrait and still life, the artist often obscures the eyes of his subjects with the wings of birds and butterflies or the leaves and petals of floral studies.
Mazzoni’s imagery references herbalist traditions and Sardinian folklore of mystical seductresses who enchant, curse and cure. His body of work is a tribute to the legacy of female healers throughout history. These women held an important role in medieval communities yet their ancient knowledge of the natural healing properties of medicinal plants was widely feared by the Church, viewed as witchcraft and cause for persecution.
For this exhibition, Mazzoni explores dark themes of social ailments currently plaguing his home country. The show title Animanera translates from Italian to mean: black soul. The imagery reflects the financial crisis and post-election political climate in Italy, with themes of poverty, injustice and power struggles.
In a series of ten works on sketchbook pages, Mazzoni portrays a variety of animal species re-imagined with biological mutations, and loaded with symbolism. A six-eyed owl, a cluster of frogs, a turtle sprouting mushrooms and a swarm of bees attacking a bird all carry significance to the artist as representing various human behavioral traits.
Mazzoni’s sketchbook drawings are featured as a special 16-page section in the current issue of Hi-Fructose Magazine (Volume 27).