Procession

Procession

“It is not exactly an image of disbelief, more of collective distraction; not exactly indifference more inattention; not exactly, except in a few of the women’s faces, the marks of grief or the abstraction of mourning, more the careful, ambiguous blankness of the public face.”

— T.J. Clark, writing on Gustave Courbet’s A Burial At Ornans, in Image of the People

The figures in the paintings of Marco P. Lorenzetti operate under a similar collective distraction as the one Clark describes. Depicted in various states of repose, they congregate, they mingle, they lounge, they aimlessly proceed through the motions of social rituals. Lorenzetti’s loosely rendered people seem to exist in states of idle excess, smoking hash and enjoying sumptuous spreads in “the picnic (secret’s between us)” or parading along to musical accompaniment in “Procession”. Identity and genderless, they operate as anonymous stand-ins for members of contemporary society.

While inclusive as characters, the universal applicability of the figures contains a darker flip side. Fellow figures could be anyone, but the requisite discernment of neighboring individuals goes undone. The other remains as unknown as ever, which, when coupled with a blind adherence to traditions, creates an indifference to indifference, a lockstep march towards an increasingly isolated society full of scared and faceless people.

Which is not to say we, nor our painterly proxies, are completely without hope. Surrounding the figures is an abundance that springs from the natural world, though those pleasures too are potential victims of neglect. Lorenzetti’s animals are seen here as present but neutral forces, messengers from a world that exists outside our individual bubbles, that will continue on regardless of our supervision.

Lorenzetti places unblossomed poppies throughout his paintings, a flower that symbolizes both a resilience in the face of death, as well as an incredibly powerful and destructive force when harnessed improperly. Like poppies sprouting from bombed out fields in Flanders, younger generations represent a source of hope. As in “uncertain route (child with lion)”, Lorenzetti’s figures are at a crossroads, processing in tandem with the natural world towards an indeterminate future.

Procession

  • Thierry Goldberg Gallery's Exhibitions 12

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