Opening reception: Thursday, November 13, 6-8pm
Sara Meltzer Gallery is pleased to present Be My Mirror , an exhibition of new works by Francesca Gabbiani.
This is the artist's first solo exhibition at the gallery.
Francesca Gabbiani's collages depict charged moments that evoke portals to other states of consciousness or often suggest empty spaces where something sinister is about to happen or has already occurred. But the truly mystifying element of her work comes with the realization that her images are constructed from intricate pieces of painted hand-cut paper. Her work embodies a painterly quality through its inherent ornateness, whilst grounded in her continued interest in architecture, cinema and more recently the natural and supernatural.
For Be My Mirror the artist draws inspiration from Gothic literature, "poètes maudits" such as Cocteau and De Quincey and the hanging gardens of Babylon, to create haunting ornate images of rococo mirrors. Gabbiani's looking glasses are adorned with a variety of natural elements which possess associations to the mystical and the mind-altering: an array of rocks and crystals conjure notions of immortality and healing; a collection of phallic shaped mushrooms promise psychedelic visions; and a congregation of octopus, conk shells and seaweed embrace tincture bottles containing an elixir rather than a written message. All the frames surround a blankness where a mirror should be. As in her past work, Gabbiani intentionally negates what the viewer expects to find, enticing the audience to be the subject of the mirror's reflection.
Further allegorical imagery includes staircases, vultures and snakes that hang over onto the void of the mirror, as if they have seeped out onto the frame and are lingering close by to surround those whose reflection will appear. These images elude to an exterior landscape brought into an interior, like the psychic landscape of the mind being brought out into the exterior space of the frame of a mirror.
Francesca Gabbiani lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including a mid-career retrospective at the Centre PasquArt, Bienne, Switzerland and a solo exhibition at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and at the Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany. Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hammer and Yale University, among others. She is a three-time recipient of the Swiss Federal Award of Art. She attended the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Geneva; Rijksakademie van Beeldender Kunsten, Amsterdam and received an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles.