The Townley Gallery, (Laguna Beach, CA); Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art, (Laguna Beach CA).
Saturday April 13th, 1-6 p.m. New Port Beach Art Exhibition, Oasis Senior Center.
Mati Russo is pleased to present, a group exhibition of new work. Please join us on Saturday April 13, from 1-6 p.m., for the exhibition opening and to meet the artist. (Mati Russo)
In the exhibition, Russo presents a series of artworks that re-live and convey a heart wrenching understanding the artist has of having experienced 9/11 and the tragedies suffered through the violent use of guns in America. Russo refers to her latest collection of work as “something very meaningful that personally motivated her to create, Never Forget & Guns in America.” This is due to her own personal relationships to 911 and her spiritual need to pay homage to those who lost their lives on that day. Further, the shootings beginning in Colorado drove Russo to voice her feelings about the situation of gun violence in America.
Russo’s installation is comprised of an eclectic perspective on violence, loss of innocence, and the unhealthy influence of gun related money in America. Pieces titled Never Forget, Tainted Glory, and Diminished Glory all depicting the sentiment of a ravished nation up-at arms. One framed in bullets; one with the words of our President emblazed within and one with the American flag beginning to implode on itself.
Born in Coney Island, New York., Mati Russo is a California based artist who has exhibited painting, installations in museums and galleries nationally. Her work was recently featured in group exhibitions at The Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art, (Laguna Beach, CA) and the Townley Gallery. (Laguna Beach, CA). Mati Russo is represented by Townley Gallery & Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art. To view other Mati Russo collections of work, such as “Central Park” please refer to the links below.
“Guns In America”
September 11, 2001 was a day which changed the lives of everyone in America-everyone in the world. Living in close proximity to Manhattan on that terrible day it had a profound and life changing affect on my personal life. My daughter in law was working in the city that day and my son, her husband, was working in Brooklyn. Before the towers fell I called my sons to discover that my eldest son was crossing over the Brooklyn bridge against the tide of humanity fleeing the city to look for his wife who was working adjacent to the towers. They both made it through the experience physically unharmed, but I was terrified knowing my son was rushing into harms way. One of my closest personal friends worked at the top of the first tower where the first plane struck. As fate would have it, she had a dentist appointment and did not go to work that day. She lost a great many personal friends and professional associates when the towers collapsed. In my own business I had many friends and clients who lost close personal friends and loved ones. I watched them go down to ground zero day after day looking for some sign, some closure to their terrible loss. Living in Staten Island I saw the garbage trucks roll through our streets, taking the debris from the fallen towers to our dumps. It was a daily reminder of the horrible act which had been perpetrated against our city and our country. For weeks after September 11 the skies were blackened with the thick black smoke rising from ground zero, but our lives were effected for much longer then that in so many ways. It was not only the terrible loss of life and its ensuing pain. Lives were affected in so many other ways. People stopped taking certain subways and trains, and many of the businesses which depended on that traffic for their survival were forced to close, creating greater financial hardship at a time of terrible hardships. Despite New Yorkers rallying together to rise above these atrocities, certain ethnic groups were targeted and suffered retribution for an act which they not only had nothing to do with but in no way condoned. Among the most terrifying events of that horrible day was watching our beloved fire department, police department, our first responders who bravely rallied to rescue the doomed perish as the towers collapsed while they selflessly and heroically tried to rescue those trapped in the blazing towers. I held several events to benefit the survivors of this tragedy. I organized and participated in many runs designed to benefit those who had lost and suffered the most. I watched the children of mothers who went daily to ground zero in hope of any sign or news of their lost husbands. When I moved to Los Angeles I carried the memory and the pain from that day and the subsequent months that followed with of me. I lived my life and tried not to let it cloud my joy, but it remained inside me like a hidden scar that you try not to notice but are somehow always aware of. After seven years I felt compelled to create work to commemorate the memory of the fallen, as well as work which called to attention the flaws in the thoughts and the actions of our country’s leadership. “Never Forget” takes the headlines from actual newspapers of those terrible days and frames them in wood, steel, plaster and glass. It evokes the damage and desolate feelings created by those events, as well as a reverence and homage to those who gave their lives trying to save the lives of others. “Central Park” reminisces the walks I took in Central Park, looking at the grass and snow and fallen leaves covering the ground, reminded of the beauty that still was despite the pain we were all enduring. “Ransom Notes” is a collection of two smaller collages, “Terrorist” and “Sins of the Father”, texts from songs of the same title taken from a collection of work responding to the 911 tragedies and our country’s leaderships’ response. They are made of wood grid and plaster, with different religious texts, and the field manuals that belonged to a young soldier providing the backing to the songs text, which I burned phrase by phrase and placed upon the bed of religion and military manuals careful to create a balance to bring the pieces to their completion. “So Creepy” was created later but shares a kindred spirit with “Ransom Notes”, harboring the ghostly image of Dick Cheney (with an Iranian tie from the prior regime) grimacing (as he so often does) next to a Frankenstein Mitt Romney (wearing a China undershirt; who was constantly reassembling himself in the effort to win the votes of those who had no idea about what he actually stood for). In between the two is sandwiched the unwitting American public, a crash test dummy adorned with a crown of bullets similar to the Statue of Liberty sporting a neck made out of bullets shaped like a dollar sign. The work is constructed of wood, paint and collages made from the text of the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon and images of U.S.currency. In the aftermath of 911 guns sales skyrocket and the American public armed themselves in record numbers. This was the inspiration for the text of “Terrorist”. It also resulted in a glut of easily accessible weapons which could fall into the hands of criminals and lunatics. It is this rash of gun violence that has motivated my “Guns in America” series. I began after these the senseless and horrific massacre in Colorado. “Dying for Dollars” consists of wood, bullets, paint, ink, images of weapons and targets taken from shooting ranges. The message is on the painting-we have to stop this insanity. “Bam” is created with wood, paint, a collage of headlines, text, written sentiment, weapon images and shooting targets, the most prominent of which is pointing its weapon at its own head. “Tainted Glory’ is the first flag I created in a series of flags meant to represent the heavy and unhealthy influence of guns (and gun related money) in our country. It is made of wood, grid, plaster with headlines from current events and stripes containing the text to “America”-another song from the same collection of work previously mentioned-each line burned and placed on the canvas to imply the stripes of the American flag. The work is framed and bullets and bullets are used to imply the 50 stars. “Shattered Glory was created in response to the massacre of innocents at the elementary school in Newton Connecticut. It is made of wood, plaster and grid, with headlines relating to that terrible tragedy. The stripes are comprised of President Obama’s speech in at Newton, each line burned and put into place, with bullets creating the 50 stars and a heavy fortification of bullets framing the entire peace. “Diminished Glory” is created from wood, plaster and grid, bullet dust, current headlines from newspapers and bullets used to from the painting and represent a diminishing number of stars on the flag. The piece is hung on it’s corner rather then flat, giving the impression of an American flag beginning to implode on itself. “Twisted Glory” was created in response to the resurgence in not only gun violence but gun sales since the Newton shootings. It once again visits the text of “Terrorist” for the stripes, speaking of a society arming itself with weapons and fear which soon will become its own worst enemy. The medium is wood, plaster, paint, paper, ink and bullets, with each stripe burned and put in place. “Questionable Glory” (currently in progress) is made in response to the current gun debate gripping the country. Medium is wood, grid, plaster, paint, paper, ink and the text from the second amendment. Making these works has been emotionally draining for me. I was driven by the rash of killings and insanity of current events to create art whose objective was not to please the eye as much as cause the mind to think.