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Maurizio Anzeri: Lay it on the Line

London-based Italian artist Maurizio Anzeri is best known for his innovative take on portraiture, using brightly colored embroidery thread to create surreal, uncanny portraits from found vintage photographs. Lay it on the Line, presented in Haines Gallery’s project room, sees the artist turning his attention toward landscapes. This recent move from faces to places is a natural progression for Anzeri, who had previously compared facial features to topographical definitions as he mapped out his threadwork. In this new body of work, what was once a traditional landscape photograph is deftly transformed into a sculptural, textural artwork that radiates with angled rays of vividly colored thread. A highlight of the exhibition is SunSet (2017), which artfully combines ten related photographs found at Bay Area flea markets during Anzeri’s 2014 stay in San Francisco. The work is intimate and nostalgic, with a filigree of red lines guiding our gaze over starkly colored shores seen at dusk. The title of the exhibition, Lay it on the Line, alludes to Anzeri’s embarking on a new stage of his career, as well as his interest in the idea of ‘electricity’: electricity that we emanate and absorb, its manifestations, and the apparent phenomena of Ley lines. First coined in 1921 by amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins, the term hypothesizes an ancient alignment of significant structures and landforms. In Anzeri’s altered landscapes, the mysterious emanations from both the natural and built environment suggest unseen phenomena, and allude to the spiritual and mystical. Lay it on the Line is Anzeri’s first US solo exhibition, and reinforces Haines Gallery’s commitment to supporting the careers of emerging and mid-career international artists. Maurizio Anzeri (b. 1969; Lives and works in London) studied sculpture and graphic design at the Camberwell College of Fine Arts (1996–99) and at The Slade School of Fine Art, London (2002–2005), obtaining an MA in Fine Art and Sculpture. Anzeri’s work has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, UK (2013); and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2011). Recent group exhibitions include A Take on Vintage Photography, Siauliai Ausros Museum, Lithuania (2016); The Needle’s Eye: Contemporary Embroidery, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway; Secondhand, Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA; Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK (all 2015). His work is held in public and private collections around the world including Museum Kunstpalast, Germany, and the Saatchi, Gagosian, Rothschild, and Alexander McQueen collections.