Lee Materazzi
1599fdt. San Francisco, CA. January 11- February 11, 2024. 

The 250 images comprising Lee Materazzi’s ¢a$h&¢arry serve as an incomplete archive, as all archives do, chronicling the last five years of the artist’s practice.
While varying greatly in scope, the overlapping bodies of work are all rooted in the space of the studio itself, which Materazzi shares with her children Mia and Brook, where it serves as both a constant and a site of flux; a witness to the palimpsest of a life in session. 
Between the three of them, the works on view were completed between the ages of 37-41 and 3-11, respectively.  
In her portraits, Materazzi objectifies not just her body, but the precarity of its nature. Nipples, noses, knees, the small people she grew in her body and the messes they’ve made on the ground are neither daft nor holy but both, simultaneously, in equal measure. 
Rather,  there is something to be said about the reality of covering one’s body in green paint with the knowledge that you have to pick your kids up from school by 3pm. 
Spanning the gamut from erotic to abject, the works in view overlap with experiences of parenthood, divorce, the pandemic,  the cultural amnesia that followed, and a standard sense of dailiness.  Shared among them is a sense of urgency, a sensation that feels big and small at the same time— the way  a paper cut throbs. 
Hovering between intention and accident, focus tests and iPhone pics, something that cannot be so contained lines the walls— a life’s work in progress, one that fits in the palm of your hand. 
Nipples Pulled Through
Lee Materazzi
Eleanor Harwood. San Francisco, CA. January 7 - February 19th, 2023. 
When interviewed by her ten-year-old daughter, Mia, as a part of an artist talk, Lee Materazzi was asked, “You make quite a mess; from experience, I know you don’t like this kind of messiness inside the house. Can you tell us about that?”

When visiting her studio it wasn't the mess that struck me as extraordinary, but the size of the chairs. Materazzi shares her studio with her two young daughters. In conversation, she consistently refers to the studio as “ours.” The tone with which she says this is important. It’s not said as generous platitude. It's a matter of fact. Their drawings, sculptures, and experiments migrate in and out of Materazzi’s camera frame. Other times, their discarded or in-progress experiments inform the sculptures and sets Materazzi builds for her documented performances. Their uninhibited presence fills the otherwise silent space of tedium that takes place between the inception of a good idea and its execution. Where one’s work ends and the other’s begins isn’t obvious. Mess, play, success, and failure commingle throughout their inadvertent collaborations.

Materazzi’s work refutes any hierarchy between the labor of art and the labor of domestic care, and alludes to a sense of self-contained desire— complete without the need to be reciprocated. In her portraits, Materazzi objectifies not just her body, but the precarity of its context. Nipples, fingers, and other ambiguous parts are creased, pulled out, pushed through, held close, and seen grasping through cardboard orifices. These physical circumstances, while tenuous, pronounce a marked sense of autonomy; the artist got herself into this predicament, red paint and all. She will get herself out, too.

Historically, a critical distinction has been made between nudity and nakedness. John Berger infamously wrote, “Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display,” suggesting that the role held by images of [namely, women’s] bodies was defined by the viewer, not the subject. The works in Nipples Pulled Through, reject this dichotomy— revealing and concealing; inviting and refusing sexualization like the precise drapery of a roman figure— at once, erotic and avoidant.

This duality pervades self-made nude photographs. Nudes act in tandem, both as confirmation to the self, here I am, still, a slowly ossifying sack; and as declaration to the proverbial other— I am a body to be acted upon. A body that pleasures, that pains, that fucks and can be fucked. With the simultaneity of self-edification and self-deprecation, Materazzi’s work dissects the body into a sum of its parts. It’s made into material, and yet, it still asks to be seen.
Fever Dream 
Ben Quinn and Robert Falco 
Pt. 2 Gallery, Oakland, California. April 9- May 6, 2022

In the way heat rises from a distance, displacing objects from order, the paintings of Ben Quinn and Robert Falco function like the moiré of a screen— revealing that vision itself exceeds our ability to capture it. The works in Fever Dream collapse the spiritual realm between experience, sensation, and observation; and grasp at the conditions of the present— an attention economy built on images and multitasking.  
Occupying many worlds at once, Falco’s entropic diptychs bloom and deteriorate simultaneously, selectively revealing and concealing themselves like a vespertine flower. 
With a prismatic palette, Quinn considers the star as essential unit of measurement — of both atomic and cosmological proportions, a means of calculating the unquantifiable.  Colors reverberate, presenting both an entrance and an exit, inviting us to look in as opposed to at. 
There is a reverence for the mundane that materializes in the artists’ source imagery: digital detritus mined from their personal photographic archives. With sleight of hand each artist obfuscates this accumulated visual excess and makes it something worthy of veneration — iconographic.

While Falco’s painting pulse with the urgent demands placed on the mind and body by our undulating, networked economy, Quinn’s work provides a place for the body to rest while the mind is on mute— sharing in the desire to imbue meaning where meaning has been emptied.
Sipping Air 

Melanie Flood Projects is proud to present 'sipping air,' a solo exhibition of new works by New York-based artist Rachelle Bussières and is on view June 5-July 3, 2021. A text by rel robinson was commissioned to accompany the exhibition. Join us for an artist reception from 1-3pm on Saturday June 5.
In the darkroom, photographers are trained to filter the world into a codified spectrum of greys. Light is allocated with precision, and deviating from this code means untethering an image from its place in a more common reality. 
In the interplay of time and light that is the production of a photographic print, one might ask where if not when does the image happen? While an instance of light may be captured within the four edges of a print and the authority of a frame, light is infinite by nature. Sight is simply a negotiation between shadow and reflection. Light rebounds through matter. It is never still, it doesn’t age. We, in contrast, are finite and the photograph offers a remedy for our deeply human susceptibility to time. But light is fickle, the camera is just an instrument, and seeing is just our best guess.  
Rachelle Bussières makes photographs without a camera or a negative, exposing silver gelatin paper directly to light; revealing a surprisingly pastel palette. The images in these lumen prints are colored by unfettered access to the sky, the wattage of an incandescent bulb, the brightness of the day, and the clouds in the sky outside her New York City studio.  Each print is a record of its most essential truth, a unique impression of its own place in time and space, of the light outside. From dusky tones to the color of the sun seen from behind closed eyes, her images present hues the way a magnolia tree blooms, all at once—making evident the withheld promise hidden in plain sight.  
This body of work is more akin to memory than artifact, something flickering in the periphery of vision, or as a specter of a place without a name. 

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