Artist Logan Marconi opened his show “The Light of the World” and gave a lecture about his work on Monday in the Sloan Gallery. Marconi’s oil paintings are created through a process called glazing, which employs multiple layers of thinned paint to achieve the look of depth.
The paintings are dark, which Marconi explained was partially due to the process, but also part of his personal aesthetic.
The artist’s works explore silence, meditation and worship spaces which provide a place for people to reflect and grow spiritually. Suggestions of architecture in the work resemble arches and connote sacred spaces. Marconi was influenced by his pilgrimages to spiritual spaces, which included a Quaker meeting house. These remnants serve as points where the spiritual can touch the tangible world. They also suggest human life, without it being present in the paintings, which allows the viewer to imagine themselves as the lone inhabitant of these intriguing plains.
The space within the paintings is vast and the darkness has great depth. The texture, which is created by the layering of thinned paint, suggests temporality or something which has been built through many impressions over a long period of time. This adds to the effect of being on hallowed ground.
Silence is a major theme of the work, and Marconi has succeeded in communicating transcendent calm and quietness while keeping the work visually exciting. The paintings are most effective at playing with light and darkness. The depth of the darkness allows the light to glow on the canvas.
There is an illusion of movement in these lights, some falling like snow, others expanding upward like fire. The pieces have a subdued atmosphere despite the tension that the light and dark elements create. “The Cradle” has the suggestion of a small boat on fire in the middle of a boundless body of water.
Though the event might engender panic in a realistic platform, the painting is hushed. It gives the viewer the feeling of a transcendent moment, perhaps of shock, or joy, or of heightened consciousness in which the manifest world stands still and there is finally time to reflect.
The exhibit will be in Sloan Gallery until March 25.