Human Observations – Grand Central Station, Continued.
In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Grand Central Station.
Curated by Renato Miracco in collaboration with the Bruce Silverstein Gallery
Photographer Maria Antonietta Mameli (featured in TIME Magazine) presents a new series, Grand Central Station, Continued, inspired by the recent 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal. The artist had already completed a photographic series set in Grand Central in 2008, but news in 2012 of the impending centennial celebrations galvanized her into a second foray of “capturing on camera the very busy New Yorkers and tourists, who every day have the good fortune to cross this amazing space full of light and energy.”
For years Mameli’s work has focused on New Yorkers in motion. Her figures, generally seen from a distance, have often been shown as black silhouettes on a flat, white ground from which natural surroundings have been digitally removed. In Grand Central Station, Continued, Mameli’s tiny figures are lit as if by a centrally placed light source, illuminating some features of her subjects and obscuring others. The surrounding inky darkness suggests the vast stretches of moody commuter tunnels and passageways emanating through and beyond Grand Central. “One of the artist’s hallmarks” writes curator Renato Miracco “is her ability to give voice to silence, to barely lit faces, to emptiness and our urban surroundings.” The photographs evoke the experience of watching a theatrical performance—or of the equally theatrical effects of observing human figures as they move through the darkness and light of a medieval European church. “These photos are not fiction”, writes Miracco, “nor are they romanticized tales. They are historical documents because the people, the events and emotions they depict are real and tell true stories.” Miracco suggests that the photos have a neorealist “gaze” that “isn’t passive or mimetic, nor is it neutral. On the contrary, it is an inclusive and comprehensive gaze which aims at embracing the chosen spot in its fullness and at the same time, creating a world where one can almost sense a parallel reality where daylight is precious and nights are dark and shrouded in mystery.”
In her artist's statement Mameli says “By cutting everything off, I remove every possible element of distraction to focus on reality and surrounding emotional life through a telescope, so that space and time become non-existent. By reducing the subjects to minimal size, I force the viewer to get closer to my work not only physically, but also emotionally. I created my aesthetic space where the facets of the human condition are under the sharp scrutiny of my lenses.”
Grand Central Station, Continued, was completed over two years in 2012–13. The exhibition, comprised of ten photographs shot on film with a Leica M6 camera, has been organized in collaboration with the Bruce Silverstein Gallery and with the support of co-sponsors, Circolo Shardana USA and Melchionna & Gandolfo LLP.
Exhibition of photographs continues through Dec. 12 (deadline extended)
Gallery hours: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday
By minimizing the compositional elements within her images, Maria Antonietta Mameli’s work calls attention to both the temporal beauty of her anonymous subjects and the simplicity of the photographic medium. Her work unites photography’s most essential components: light and form using these components to isolate the poetry inherent in life's minutiae. Her most recent work, Human Observations - Grand Central Station,Continued, is a conceptual extension of the previous Grand Central Series. The artist has received critical praise for the innovative visual language she created to express her aesthetic vision.
Born in 1969 in Cagliari, Italy, Maria Antonietta Mameli is a self-taught artist. She is represented exclusively by the Bruce Silverstein Gallery where she has had three solo exhibitions: two in New York and one with Silverstein Gallery at Pulse, Miami. Since the late 2000s, Mameli’s work has been the subject of exhibitions at prominent venues internationally including a solo show at the Museum Marino Marini in Florence, Italy; Paris Photo, France; Art Basel, Basel and Miami; the Armory Show, New York. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections. The artist lives and works in New York City.
Renato Miracco has curated over 100 exhibitions, most notably at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; the Morgan Library, NYC; the Tate Modern, London; the Venice Biennale; and the Museum of Modern Art, Bologna. He has been an art advisor at the Venice Biennale, among other venues. He is currently the Cultural Attaché to the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C.