Front to Back with Ari Marcopoulos

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Published May 10, 2012

With his Contax camera close in his pocket at all times Ari Marcopoulos produces photos with an amazing and precise flow that matches his history, coming up among skateboarders. For “Wherever You Go,” his first solo show at Chelsea Marlborough Gallery [opens tonight], Marcopoulos pulled from his immense body of photographs, 2008-2012 for a fresh survey.

Entering the gallery, viewers are confronted with huge prints of Marcopoulos’s 35mm snapshots in stark black carbon-pigment on fragile rice paper, all of them slightly degraded from the printing process. They almost feel melancholic, the bright colors of Ari’s negatives turned to high-contrast black. Even with the date stamp on each image, they look like relics or memories from years ago.

“I am never really theme oriented,” says Marcopoulos. “Although this show seems to have a lot of back views.” His sensitivity and boldness with the camera is what makes Marcopolous’s work so unique, while his friendly demeanor lightens the mood of every photo he takes. Subjects are at ease, relaxed, even strangers seem fine with him behind the lens.

The show also includes a new video work and a vitrine stocked with 15 of the artist’s out of print zines. Currently Marcopoulos is collaborating with New York publisher-boutique Dashwood Books to produce a zine each week, resulting in 52 short-run publications. Skate, don’t walk, to Dashwood’s Noho storefront to pick them up.