STARGAZING: contemplating the Majestic by Matt Marga.
An evening with Bob Mizon MBE FRAS
In occasion of the Kensington and Chelsea Art Weekend 2019, Ventique art gallery, 77 Lots road, Chelsea, London, SW10 0RN
Bob Mizon is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a Member of the Order of the British Empire, he recently wrote “Finding a Million-Star Hotel”, about the world’s darkest places and the loss of the night sky to urban populations. Responding to a lifelong love of astronomy, he is a planetarium operator, taking a mobile dome into schools, youth groups and societies all over southern England. Over 150,000 people have experienced a tour of the Universe with Bob at the controls.
Mizon is best known in the scientific and environmental community as the co-ordinator of the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies, which aims to turn back the tide of light pollution that has seriously affected our view of the stars over the last fifty years. Glare, light intrusion and skyglow have become the norm nowadays, a situation hardly compatible with a society which is supposed to be saving energy and protecting the environment.
In 2010 Bob was awarded the MBE for his work in astronomy and environmental education. He is a STEM Ambassador.
A contemplation of the night sky is at the centre of the STARGAZE: contemplating the Majestic, now on display at 77 Lots Road. Through these sculptural pieces, the artist Matt Marga celebrates the wonders of the universe as seen by the human eye.
The talk will take place in the Travelling Planetarium, an inflatable dome with a digital 360 degrees projector. Mizon will guide the participants through a tour of the night sky, projected onto the dome.
The talk will be on 28th June 2019 from 7.00 pm until 8.00 pm
As a child growing up in the Italian alps, Matt Marga went out hunting for crystals. Drawn by the idea of finding something precious that no-one else had ever seen, he would struggle down from the mountainside with a knapsack filled with stones. Once home he would carefully hammer them apart, eager for a glint in the dark rock, his personal discovery of the beauty hidden away by nature.
What we experience in the London Geodes event is the recreation of that sense of secret wonder, revealed by the complex geometric planes of Marga’s pieces. He mines the seams of geology to explore the fascination of geodes, apparently nondescript stones containing fairy-tale hollows lined with quartz crystals, agate, jasper or amethyst.
In a natural geode, hollows created by bubbles of air and gas under pressure in lava gradually solidify and fill with an infinitely slow deposit of minerals, encrusting the surface of the cavity with crystals. The London Geodes capture both the characteristic profile of a crystal – flat faces with sharp angles – and its highly ordered atomic structure. This severity plays out against scintillating crystal interiors which irresistibly pull the viewer towards these wall-hung sculptural works.
Informed by his architectural background, Marga utilises techniques that combine the precision of laser cutting alongside cold metal casting, LED technology and hand finishing to produce his distinctive high relief pieces.
“While natural geodes are typically found scattered across a desert,” the artist explains, “these works are statements for our urban habitat, with their polished metal surfaces and high-spec construction. They are built and made in London, where I live and work. I am drawn by the way that different metals work in our modern environment. The light that I place within the geodes creates endless possibilities, like great cities which are full of surprises and moments of unexpected beauty.”
As Marga builds up his pieces, angles and facets are first sketched at random on paper by hand. But the movement from sketch to sculpture is achieved through absolute precision, since the inner geometry of the geode must be exact. Beneath the peaks and valleys of the outer structure lies a strictly organised architecture of perpendicular supports cut by laser to within a fraction of a millimetre. There is no space for error. The mathematics of nature are recruited to bring harmony and balance to the finished work.
Slashed across this landscape is a lightning bolt of shimmering crystals. As the viewer approaches, the gallery darkens, and the shell of the work falls back into shadow, leaving only a glowing streak in a split rock. Light and colour glisten from the fracture, revealing the internal mystery of the geode to the observer. “What we see here on the surface is only a partial manifestation, leaving us to imagine the treasure that continues within,” says Marga.
With the changing perception of light falling across the countless surfaces, no two viewers will experience these unique and complex works in the same way.