All industrious people
521 W 21st Street
NEW YORK—Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to present new works by Justin Matherly, which will be on view from March 23 through April 27 at 521 West 21st Street.
In his first one-person exhibition at the gallery, Matherly takes as his point of departure an excavated temple-tomb, Nemrud Dagi in Turkey. This archeological site contained commemorative stone reliefs, known as stelae, which had been dedicated to the Hellenestic king Antiochus I. Historically, stelae would establish a ruler’s legitimacy by linking him to a particular divinity or sacred event.
Using poured and cast concrete supported by ambulatory equipment, Matherly reimagines Antiochus’ stelae. In the works on view, he focuses particularly on the depicted hand clasp gesture (known as “dexiosis”) that recurs throughout this ancient site. The function of the dexiosis motif was to convey the king’s deification through handshake as he is welcomed into the community of gods. These sculptures reflect Matherly’s ongoing exploration of classical Greek and Roman statuary as well as his interest in issues of political legitimacy and physical manifestations of power.
The exhibition also includes a series of unique monoprints based on the Nemrud Dagi site, created by transferring wet ink from transparencies onto paper.
Justin Matherly (b. 1972) lives and works in New York. His sculpture New Beaches was on view last summer as part of the Public Art Fund’s “Common Ground” exhibition at City Hall Park. He has also exhibited at the Sculpture Center, New York (2010), and the Pacific College of Art, Portland, Ore. (2009). His work was recently included in the group show Eight Sculptors at Paula Cooper Gallery (November–December 2012).