Settle Your Dust
Settle Your Dust is a solo exhibition of selected works by CJ Mazzalupo from their two-year series during the pandemic. In this series, Mazzalupo delves into the individual and collective search for understanding, freedom, and safety. Images of distance, connection, danger, and intimacy portrayed in their paintings diverge and collide and reflect humanity’s core instinct to survive in a time of great turmoil.
The works exhibited in Settle Your Dust were created during the height of the pandemic when Mazzalupo was witnessing the funeral home next door while staying safe in his Brooklyn apartment. This stark contrast of reality versus sanctuary, safety versus alarm, and enclosure versus exposure was carried over to Mazzalupo’s canvas and became energetic, visual, and emotional collisions. Layers, lines, and texts in their paintings are often concealed to reflect varying levels of awareness, the persistence of temporality, a lack of predictability, and the concept of time as amorphous. Each mark responds to the one before it either through seeking connection in overlap and collision or seeking distance through distraction and retreat. Water is used to merge line and color while graphite gives a voice to moments of emotional release.
Settle Your Dust embodies Mazzalupo’s experience of becoming legally blind after being diagnosed with optic neuropathy in 2007. When their vision steadily declined and left them blind, Mazzalupo began to allow more risk and error in their work by negotiating how their body engaged with the creative process. By using their arms and torso, standing instead of sitting, and playing with distance, Mazzalupo met what they felt like a loss of control with a new set of tools: an experience reflected in the content and context of Settle Your Dust.
About the Artist
CJ Mazzalupo is a mixed-media painter who has been based in NYC since 1994. Mazzalupo’s work investigates the psychology of human behavior, the complexities of identity, and humanity’s relationship to the concept of apocalypse. They previously had five solo shows at Mixed Green Gallery in NYC from 2000 to 2012. Mazzalupo has participated in numerous group shows at Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA: New Langton Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Artist’s Space, NYC; BLANK Studio, Brighton, UK; Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA; AMP Gallery, Provincetown, MA; Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA; and LaMaMa Gallery in NYC. Their work was featured by The New York Times, Zing Magazine, France’s Art Actuel (featured artist), Art21, Gothamist, and Hyperallergic. Mazzalupo previously presented his work at The Museum of Modern Art (NY), The School of Visual Arts (NY), and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (MA). They received their MFA from New York University in 1998 and had their first solo exhibition at NYC’s White Columns Gallery that same year.