THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY
“It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure” – Marquis de Sade
Maddox Gallery Los Angeles is pleased to present ‘The Agony & The Ecstasy,’ a group exhibition exploring the human figure as a site of emotional transformation. Featuring a selection of paintings and sculpture by six artists hailing from different regions of the world – Tijana Titin, Darian Mederos, Melissa Herrington, Justin Bower, Samantha Greenfeld and Susanne Zagorni – the show considers how the body surrenders itself to extreme emotions, be they agonizing pain or sublime pleasure.
The exhibition title is drawn from the biographical novel of the same name depicting the life and career of Michelangelo Buonarroti. Written in 1961 by the American author Irving Stone, the story chronicles the struggles and triumphs throughout this venerable artist’s career.
Finding connections between body and soul is observed with the works presented here by each of these artists. Their boldly rendered figures inhabit various forms of expression ranging from intense agony to divine exultance and in some instances, it is difficult to decipher one from the other. The artists blur the tenuous lines of distinction between agony and ecstasy in their artworks. Various states of emotions are portrayed by their unique handling of color, line and composition and, by placing the primacy of the figurative body on display, they reveal the intangible magnitude of the human condition.
Throughout ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy,’ an emotional journey develops with each encounter of an artwork. As Michelangelo sought to release the soul from his chosen medium, so too do the artists presented here. Through their various styles and approaches, they not only tap into the infinite well of emotions harbored in the human body, but also reconsider the notions of agony and ecstasy. Are they opposing emotions, or are they the same, for pain is perhaps just a cruel form of pleasure.