Luce Gallery announces ‘Battery of the Machine’, the first solo show by Demarco Mosby in Turin.
Demarco Mosby, Bury the Father, 2022. Oil on linen, 137.2 x 167.6cm. Courtesy the artist and Luce Gallery, Turin.
The exhibition brings together thirteen paintings – deeply rooted in symbolism – by the New York-based painter who examines the depths of our inner selves, using the human figure both to mirror and reveal the weight and complexity of life’s tribulations. By incorporating his symbolic vocabulary of objects like birds, ropes, rocks and tumultuous landscapes into each composition, Mosby creates layered narratives that aptly visualise the complexity and disorientation of our emotional states. Together these paintings narrow in on an ambient anxiety when tensions just begin to bubble over, and suspicions are heightened. ‘Battery of the Machine’ aims to question the stability of our relationships during turbulent times, while also examining the internal forces that cause us to feel anxious, threatened, and isolated.
The exhibition’s title, ‘Battery of the Machine’, capitalises on battery’s dual meaning in English, with the first referring to “battery” as a fuel or direct power source, and the second meaning an assault or violence against another person. In this context, the artist explored how stress can become an effective and steady fuel for negativity in our lives, feeding hostility and violence, and often fracturing once stable relationships. Mosby’s figures – composed of loose brushstrokes, bold outlines and distinct impasto sections – translate these stressors and their consequences into physical attributes of decaying bodies, severed limbs, and mask-like faces to conceal their true selves. The strength of his work is how he’s married the grotesque with distinct symbolic elements, to depict sincere vivid narratives of our inner selves that are as alluring as they are aesthetically pleasing.
In Fall (2022), a flock of five swans are tethered together with a rope secured at their necks, climbing a steep cliffside. This strong diagonal composition is set against a surreal landscape, with a deep midnight-blue sky at twilight – all to heighten the dramatic tensions. We encounter these swans at the moment one has slipped on the steep rocks, pulling the others downward with bodies and wings flailing in panic. It is as if these birds have forgotten they can fly, and instead are fixated on the ground below, staring toward their doom. The narrative feels like a familiar fable, describing a cautionary tale about the precariousness of trusting the wrong people, and how it can lead to your demise. While the birds in this painting represent people, Mosby also uses swans in other paintings to symbolise weapons. For the artist, this interchangeable symbol is a commentary on how anxiety and suspicion can transform anyone in our lives into perceived weapons against us.
Battery of the Machine! (2022) depicts another struggle with a pyramid-shaped pile of figures, limbs, and a swan lassoed by a rope. Each figure or limb reacts to the tightening bind by biting, kicking, or pulling upon it. They appear violently gathered against their will by a set of muscular arms floating in the sky pulling the rope taut, like an unknown force dominating the world below. The composition is reminiscent of the famous Greek sculpture Laocoön, the Trojan priest who was crushed to death, along with his two sons by sea serpents sent from the gods for attempting to warn his countrymen about the now infamous wooden horse. While classic tales of heroism and tragedy are references for his work, Mosby gravitates towards depicting our everyday journeys and portraying the full ramifications of our decisions, responsibilities, and duties, or, as he refers to them as our “grand narratives.”
Demarco Mosby (1991, Kansas City, Missouri, United States) lives and works in New York. The figurative painter’s work is narrative-based and draws from his interest in depicting the emotional scars collected on our everyday journeys. Mosby is a graduate from the Hunter College CUNY MFA Program in New York and debuted his seminal work, Palindrome (2021), during the thesis exhibition. As an undergraduate, he trained at the School of Visual Arts New York City majoring in cartooning and illustration, deeply rooting his admiration for narrative and the human figure. By 2017, the artist fully transitioned to painting, adapting his appreciation of storytelling. His work has been exhibited in many group shows in New York City, as well as renowned art fairs, including: Untitled Art Miami Beach, Independent and 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York, EXPO CHICAGO, and Felix Art Fair in Los Angeles. Additionally, his work has been acquired by many notable private collections.
The exhibition will be on view from the 13th of July until the 16th of September 2022. For more information, please visit Luce Gallery.