Cyclical Tales of Mother’s Unmentionables
RARE is pleased to introduce a series of new sculptures and tapestries by Dionisios Fragias in an exhibition titled Cyclical Tales of Mother’s Unmentionables. The show, which opens April 21 and runs through May 19, marks the artist’s second one-person exhibition at the gallery.
Fragias’ work reflects the dichotomy between the boundless possibilities of human beings’ vision and the societal ramifications and dark realities resulting from our endless pursuit of knowledge and progress. He references ancient mythology and symbols and blends them with elements of modern technological advancement to communicate that Man’s relentless progression has unforeseen negative manifestations and consequences.
The artist updates while paying homage to centuries-old myths and the lessons they teach. Icarus at the Peak of His Arc (Empires), 2010, recapitulates the tale of the young Icarus’ flying too close to the sun with hand-fashioned wings made of feathers and wax and receiving his deadly comeuppance. Fragias imparts a contemporary edge to the fable via a suspended, large-scale, die-cut aluminum military helicopter transformed by exaggerated human and bird-like features.
Icarus takes on the appearance of the charred frame of a war machine with limbs, wings, and three sets of chaotic rotor blades straining to remain intact. The screaming profile of a man, cut out in negative on one side of the fuselage, represents the panic-stricken Icarus, stripped of his hubris, at the moment he realizes he has exceeded his capabilities. His subsequent downward spiral symbolizes the frustrations of society as it reaches its own civic and technological wall.
Similarly, Colorspace Black (Trojan Horse), 2009-10, is a sculpture laden with symbols and metaphors. A physical, oversized representation of a digital colorspace palette found in art & design computer programs, this work sits on two stacks of children’s art books at the front end and a copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War at the back end. Stripped of color, the black monolith resembles early stone tools or weapons as well as a contemporary version of the Trojan Horse, ready to open up where its two halves meet as if to allow an army to pour out.
Complementing the sculptures, Fragias’ small series of tapestries, titled Culture Clash, bind together imagery and status symbols from today’s inner cities, street-smart youth sub-culture, and hip-hop vernacular with ancient Far Eastern sensibilities and techniques from Nepal. In the outsourcing of American sub-cultural iconography, the weaver has thoroughly duplicated what he has been given in his own traditional craft. Through this amalgamation of cultures, Fragias simultaneously exposes the need to weigh one’s own identity and be empathetic to unfamiliar cultures while questioning global shifts that favor the imposed or forced import/export of outside culture.
Fragias received a BFA in painting from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1999, and also studied painting and sculpture at Pratt Institute and Queens College. His work is included in Pergament, a group exhibition traveling to various European cities in 2011. He participated in Team Work at Allan Nederpelt Gallery in New York in 2010, The Studio Visit Exhibition at Exit Art in 2006, and Greater New York 2005 at MoMA PS1.