The Front Room is proud to present Stephen Mallon’s “American Reclamation,” his 6th solo exhibition with the gallery. The recycling industry in America and its various facets has been an over-arching theme in Mallon’s work for over a decade and permeated almost all of the 5 previous exhibitions at the Front Room. This is a mini-retrospective, including new works and some unseen photographs from the previous series. Mallon’s works always hold optimism in the innovation of salvaging techniques, showing the possible gains that can be made as industrial waste is revivified.
Mallon is known for his photographs of big (with a capital “B”) things crashing, sinking, levitating, being dismantled or constructed. In “American Reclamation” many of the subjects are small bails, stacks, compressed cubes, mounds, random/shapeless units, and swirling vortexes. Light gleams of the corners and facets of gears and chrome strips or fades indistinctly into bails of office papers that have been squished into abstract forms. The subject in many cases consists of many small units that make up a much larger whole, which in turn covers the complete surface of the photograph. In the photograph “UBC,” thousands of shiny aluminum can tabs form what seems to be a whirlpool that is sucking them, like tiny ants into the darkness in the center. In “Nothing Has Changed,” cubes of crushed metal are stacked into a large hill, reminiscent of the constructions made by the animated robot in “Wall-E”.
Mallon’s series, “American Reclamation” will be a big part of his upcoming monograph that chronicles all of his work of the last 15 years. Mallon’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, and his work has been written about in many publications, including National Geographic, The New Yorker, New York Times, Vanity Fair, Wired, CNN, MSNBC, Stern, PetaPixel, Viral Forest, BuzzFeed, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, CBS, and NPR.