new-york

Anthony Viti

Tibor De Nagy Gallery

In its repeated use of the cross, Anthony Viti’s series of paintings entitled “Elegies,” 1993, becomes like a field of tombstones for those who have died of AIDS. But Viti’s crosses are poignant less by reason of this association than because of the exquisite, sensual—indeed, sublimely erotic—way they are painted. Using his own blood as well as paint, Viti bathes the cross in a rich, infinitely varied atmosphere, evocative of the emotional complexity of love, as well as of the inevitability of its martyrdom by society. By using a traditional symbol of hope and suffering—even if it is Marsden Hartley’s German Iron Cross—Viti gives his painting universal meaning. It becomes shrewdly emblematic of a double, equally heroic advocacy: honor and courage in facing death, and abstraction in a world of figuration (both tinged with mournfulness). Hypnotically repeated, the cross represents the

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