[Francis Naumann]
“Carlo Maria Mariani: NEW PAINTINGS,” is the second exhibition of work by Mariani to be held at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art (the first was a show of works on paper held in the fall of 2007). 

Carlo Maria Mariani is best known for paintings that—through the techniques and vocabulary of a classical style—address highly sophisticated concepts and concerns that are integral to an understanding of most advanced forms of contemporary art.  The present exhibition highlights Mariani’s paintings of classical heads, which have been a hallmark of his art for years, but which today take on a renewed symbolic urgency, suggesting, perhaps, that the deep-rooted lessons and aesthetic concepts of the past harbor the essential solutions for a more positive and optimistic future.  These ideas are best expressed in the words of David Ebony, a longtime champion of Marini and his work, who introduces a new monograph on the artist with the following statement:

One of the most enigmatic and elusive figures in all contemporary art, Carlo Maria Mariani is also one of the most misunderstood. He was born and educated in Rome, where he established his career. Surrounded by monuments of antiquity, he absorbed the past and launched a bold experiment to use its power symbiotically in his work, in terms of merging the past, present, and, by implication, the future. Developing and refining this concept through the years, he became internationally celebrated for his unique vision and technical acumen. Critics and the art-going public, however, sometimes missed the underlying conceptual aim of the work. He now resides in perhaps the most contemporary of cities, New York, where his project has become ever more hallucinatory yet, at the same time, more lucid.

"Mariani is often regarded as one who is almost single-handedly keeping alive the spirit and ideals of classical beauty in painting today. While this may be true, it is just one facet of his multifarious achievement. The conceptual nature of his work transcends the realm of art history, which is limited by the simple fact of its already being part of the past. Mariani’s art is very much engaged with the present. It constitutes a vital dialogue with contemporary art, concerns of the day, and human endeavor in a troubled world. He conveys his thoughts visually, with a witting attitude toward life in the moment, and sometimes also with a feeling of urgency. One of the most imaginative painters of our time, Mariani offers his visions as a guide, a way to navigate through the often alarming vicissitudes of life while maintaining an unerring sense of grace and dignity."

                                                    David Ebony — introduction to
                       Carlo Maria Marini in the Twenty-first Century
                                                            (Milan: Skira, 2011)

Accompanying the exhibition is a monograph written by David Ebony and edited by Carol Lane, with essays by Robert Pincus-Witten and Italo Tomassoni (Skira, 2011).  Copies available through the gallery.

The exhibition shall also premier a new film on the artist by Carol Lane, Carlo Maria Mariani: Painting of the Imagination. Copies of the DVD can be ordered through the gallery.