Marc Librizzi first began to paint after finishing school and leaving behind the facilities that allowed him to work across metal, wood, glass and stone. He started during the pandemic, exploring with his mind hypothetical spaces and materials that could proliferate endlessly, suggesting a fantastical recursion of habitable zones. The results are on full view in Desire Paths, his second exhibition with the gallery and his first in Los Angeles. Principles of three-dimensional practices are fundamental to these works, and lessons learned from moving the viewer in, through and around sculptures produce dazzling cutaways, vignettes and mise-en-scenes. Railings, fences, elevators, fire escapes, and streams of water induce the viewer to traverse the picture plane, while his take on the artist’s frame asserts, much in the vein of a Roy De Forest, a Ree Morton, or an 80’s Robert Morris, that the picture is simply “not enough.” Librizzi’s paintings are accompanied by a new powder-coated ceramic, a bronze, and a work on paper—together they suggest a wry take on California Eclecticism.
At the center of Librizzi’s investigation is a sense of discovery modulated by the logic of urban space. In his world, the density of infrastructure and subdivided domiciles is always subsumed by more platforms, more building; navigating it is like walking the hallway of a railroad apartment only to find that each door leads to other hallways with windows looking out onto other rooms. In Window Curtain Overlooking Table; Feast of the Raspberry, doors act almost as breathing holes to the build-up of the picture. At first glance, its density evokes the Dutch Golden Age, yet there is an antinomy at play when all its delicate minutiae is taken as a whole. House of Facades illustrates how gracefully jam-packed a version of the artist’s amalgamated city-structure can be. Every level of the jewler’s scale bronze shows openings and routes for the eye to take, all tidily piled up into a tower supported by exposed scaffolding, a perfect testament to the drive-by. Librizzi often uses motion like a cinematographer, freezing, reversing, playing it on a continuous loop. In Tunnel to Tunnel; Guiding Light, a serpentine freeway worms through the earth and sky, and the heavens blink with astrological guides reimagined in the manner of the marquees of the Sunset Strip. The natural focus of Desire Paths is two new works that substitute liquid for a steady stream of cars or people. Bouncing down through the tableaus of everyday human activity and industry carved into the sections of the fountain in Threading Liquid, running water animates and gives gravity to the painting’s leitmotif. The petrified metallic river of Still Waters introduces water as a way of mapping labyrinthine paths which in turn become part of the superstructure.
Desire Paths isn’t so much a celebration of building as an investigation into how space can be apportioned and comprehended. By digging up dead zones and constructing viewing stages for them, Librizzi trains our focus equally on the urban and the pastoral. Behind Threading Liquid’s fountain is an empty parking lot and a single bulldozer—an open expanse awaiting indifferent urbanization. Like the late Lebbeus Woods, Librizzi shows us that architecture doesn’t solve problems, it doesn’t dictate the tenor of contemporary life or enable new productivities. It simply reinforces, daily, the limits of the human imagination.