Latin American Masters gallery presents an exhibition of paintings and installation by José Alberto Marchi. Inspired by the 19th Century photographs of Thomas Eakins, Marchi transforms Eakins figure studies from photographs in to luminous painted diptychs: each combining Eakins original image with its negative. The resulting paintings evoke both the history of photography and painting. The scandal to which the exhibition’s title refers, took place in 1886 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Eakins, one day to be regarded as America’s greatest realist painter, was expelled from his teaching position and socially disgraced for insisting that his students, including women, work directly from the nude male model.
José Marchi has from the beginning of his career exhibited a fascination with 19th and early 20th Century photography. Thomas Eakins used photography and painting as a way of materializing the human body. In contrast to Eakins, José Marchi is interested in the dematerialized, light filled pictorial image. Despite his explorations of art history, Marchi’s art is contemporary. His explorations of light as an expressive medium, parallel those of Dan Flavin, James Turrel and Robert Irwin, all of whom create work in which light and space are seen as a transformative source.
Marchi’s desire to transform photography into painting exiles him from both traditions and leads him towards video, yet another way to dematerialize the human body. In the accompanying installation, Marchi projects his own naked image, inspired by the pioneering animated sequences of Muybridge, on to a traditional support for painting: stretched and framed canvas. The video is accompanied by two paintings by Marchi of art students at their easels and music, a length –wise manipulation of Samuel Barber’s Overature to the School of Scandal and Addagio for Strings.
José Alberto Marchi ‘s solo exhibition and sound installation, Solis Flama, opened at Podewill, Berlin (2004). His solo exhibition, Musica Blanca, premiered at Centro Cultura Recoleta, Buenos Aires (2005). He was artist in residence at the Foundation for Art and Performance, Domburg, Holland (2006,2007,2008). His most recent solo exhibition, Tierra Celeste, organized in conjunction with Belgium’s M Museum, opened at Cypres Galerie, Leuven, Belgium (2009).
The artist currently lives and works in Buenos Aires.