Tony Matelli – The Hunter, 2002

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© 2003 Tony Matelli. Photograph by R. H. Hensleigh and Tim Thayer.

Tony Matelli

The Hunter, 2002

Born 1971, Chicago, Illinois; Cranbrook Academy of Art, MFA, Department of Sculpture, 1995;
Silicone, artificial hair, fabric. foam, reinforced aqua resin, polyester, wire and oil paint (Edition: 3/3}
71 x 29 ¾ x 41 ½ inches
Cranbrook Centennial Acquisition, Museum Purchase with funds from George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth by exchange
CAM 2003.7

Borrowing the techniques of the natural history diorama, storefront display and hyperrealist sculpture, Tony Matelli crafts a vivid approximation of the world, familiar in anecdotal detail, yet with something conspicuously awry. His lifelike figures parody human nature in its fallibility and contradictions, a theme that first emerged in poignant cast-resin vignettes portraying gestures of desperation and affection created while a student at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Matelli explores this existential frontier with an increasingly acerbic viewpoint in The Hunter, one of a trio of self-portrait caricatures from his provocative Sexual Sunrise series. In this absurd tableau, a man dressed flimsily in a red union suit gazes at the horizon in awkward anticipation, sniffing out his next conquest. With only a rope in hand, the myopic urban nerd seems ill-equipped to prevail in the backwoods far from the conveniences and rule of civilization. With this hapless swashbuckler, Matelli cleverly lampoons his, and our, ineptness in an alienating environment, allegorizing a very real postmodern cultural dysfunction with his disarming sculptural burlesque.

Joe Houston
from 1
Category(s): Sculpture

Decade(s): 1990s

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