In the Chelsea Gallery District, there is a huge advantage to having a street level, store front space, in that it attracts a lot of passers-by for whom the featured exhibit may not necessarily be on their radar. This past Saturday was not the first time that we have been drawn into the Magnan Metz Gallery based on a casual glance into the window. The tableau pictured above is what we saw as we walked west on 26th Street, the pull of which could not be resisted. Because, Bonfire in the Gallery.
In Big Brass/Light Opera, artist Amelia Biewald transforms the gallery space into an 18th century European parlor room, recreating the period’s lush opulence and sophistication.
However, the glamorous presentation is askew as the encapsulated scene has the tell-tale signs of a rogue stag run amok, a chaos ensuing as a result of a sparring within the space.
Amidst the knocked over furniture, wigs, and fans the now expired stag, Heavy Weather is suspended upside down having been brought to the ground by the weight of his own antlers, its presence within the room signifying a complete arrest of time.
Inspired by the visual intricacies found in historical masterpieces such as Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656), Biewald uses similar visual cues that allude to an outside viewer within the narrative forming a discord between perspectives.
Generating further tension are five vintage picture frames inlaid with mirrors and decorated with the heads of deer (Series Title: All of This and Nothing). Looking into the mirrors, the heads form a curious push and pull through the reciprocity of gazes. The scene is further stratified as the viewer establishes a context within the composition whilst moving about the mirrored space, becoming both the viewer and subject. Within these notions of perception the complete narrative exists in a plane somewhere in-between the multiple perspectives.
Big Brass / Light Opera is an amazing exhibit that I very highly recommend you try and see before it close in just over a week.
Amelia Biewald’s Big Brass/Light Opera will be on Exhibit through November 22nd at Magnan Metz Gallery, Located at 521 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.