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Michael Madzo and Ted Gall: New Paintings and Sculpture    Jul 22 - Aug 7, 2011

Butterfly Head With Yucca
Ted Gall
Butterfly Head With Yucca, 2011
 
  
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Opening Reception With The Artists: Friday, July 22, 2011, 5-7 PM

You wouldn't expect an art exhibit that's heavy on philosophical musing, psychological introspection, and deeply mysterious symbolism to also be lighthearted and whimsical, but this pairing of works by painter Michael Madzo and sculptor Ted Gall is all of that and more.

Michael Madzo, known for his trademark technique of sewing bits of paintings together with cotton thread to create his offbeat collages, has produced an oeuvre that's at once profound and humorous, depicting a colorful cast of characters who would be equally at home in the surrealistic dreamscapes of DalĂ­ or the romanticized landscapes of Brueghel. Using luminous colors and drawing on classical influences, Madzo imbues his pleasantly distorted, oddly endearing figures with a contemporary flair as he places them in mystifying situations: stuffed in jars, communing with serenely detached-looking birds, attended by flowers and butterflies.

Madzo sees his work as, among other things, an exploration of issues of self-knowledge and identity. "My paintings are a kind of archaeology of our lives," he says. "We are all assemblages of other people's thoughts, of what we see around us. I paint people contained in vessels because the vessels represent what the body is to spirit-we're contained in them, but they're not who we are. I think people can recognize themselves in the paintings-the happy/sad, serious/funny expressions of complex individuals."

Ted Gall, a keen observer of the human condition, takes an equally idiosyncratic approach to examining the inner workings of the human psyche via his intricate bronze sculptures. A continual aspect of his work is the masked figure, which involves various hinged components that bring faces within faces into view, and miniature people whose tiny scale lends a monumental quality to the forms they surround.

"We all get behind some kind of mask, whether it's physical or emotional," says Gall. "I peel back the layers by creating masks that open to faces, when then flip up to reveal an inner reality apart from the surface mask. But I don't try to tell people what to think about my sculpture-I like them to get involved in my work and create their own narratives."

Although the creatures portrayed in these sculptures-drawn from classical mythology, folktales, and fanciful stories like The Wizard of Oz-appear throughout the various series, each piece, whether large or small, is one-of-a-kind, something uncommon in the field of bronze sculpture. The permanence and solidity of the stationary metal structures contrasts with the sense of physical motion and frenetic mental energy conveyed by the works, while the moving parts add still more dynamism. A kind of implicit social commentary emerges as well, raising questions of identity and spinning a narrative that inspires the viewer to ascribe personal meaning and interpretation to the many symbols that recur from piece to piece-Icarus, wings, wheeled vehicles, animals.

Contact: Nancy Hunter (505.984.2111) hunterkirkland@earthlink.net

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