‘DARK AND FULL OF FLOWERS: Secundo Sunistra’ is a multi-media, juried art exhibition focusing on the theme of the sinister side of the Sunshine State. The word ‘sunistra’ is a portmanteau of "sunshine" and the Latin word "sinistra" and reflects the often idyllic/nightmarish dichotomy Florida embodies in its natural, social and political climates. This exhibition will open on Saturday, May 18 from 7-9pm and run through June 29, 2019.
Gallery press release:
Mark Mann’s artwork touches on the interrelations of nostalgia, Americana, history, culture, memory and identity. This is achieved through the physical manipulation and contextual isolation of found imagery. The resulting paintings and sculptures become ruminations on the recent clashes over our shared American legacy.
For the last several years, Mann has worked on his painting series O Uncolored People. These center on closely cropped and blurry images of vacationers lounging around pools. Sun burnt, and unaware, the figures are white, middle class relics of a bygone era. They are culled from vintage promotional postcards depicting the heyday of American holiday resorts and tourist attractions, from the mid-1950s to the 70s. They reflect a time when Americans were most comfortable visiting domestic resorts and attractions. However, the trend faded into the past long ago.
Mann’s sunbathers represent a fantasy past, a false narrative of a uniform American cultural and economic class. Less iconic by modern standards, to us they appear lamentable. Their damage from over-exposure is self-inflicted, caused by their own habitual over-indulgence in leisure. There is also a blandness to these figures, a flat conformity. The title of the exhibition and painting series is Mark Mann’s homage to another artist who also documented the more mundane aspects of American culture: Ed Ruscha. Ruscha’s artist book Colored People (1972) was a humorous strike against the prejudices at the heart of the difficult times during the country’s culture wars. Instead of portraits of people of color, it offered photographs of cacti on plain white backgrounds. Mann also references Ruscha’s book is his own series of white plaster Cactus sculptures. Cacti are known to be among the hardiest plants on Earth. However, the sculptures are blank, and fragile if dropped. They are unable to handle change, and surprise. The cacti are housed in reclaimed tin cans, originally used to store imported food products: Italian tomatoes, Colombian coffee, Chinese tea. This could be a subtle reminder by the artist that America is built on the strength of its imports
The sculptural subterfuge also brings to mind the era of Spaghetti Westerns, which heralded a shift in the genre of the classic American Western film. Often shot on location in Italy or Spain, with international directors and actors (and some Americans) the films were often derided in America as a foreign, “revisionist” degradation of the beloved art form. In these films, the previously rigid moral and racial authority becomes blurred. The old "villains" can become heroes, and vice-versa.
Mark Mann’s final series, a group of sculptures based on military field stretchers, brings us full-circle to the damaged sunbather paintings. The original fabric has been replaced with the interlaced nylon straps originally used in beach chairs and pool loungers. Presented here is Pearl Heart, named for a female bandit from the Old West. Less well-known than her male counterparts, bandits such as Pearl Heart are often left out of the myth of the American West that is told and retold through lore, movies and tv. The legends of the Old West are central in the American psyche, and in the ongoing struggle to reconcile past myths of America’s greatness with the reality.
Image above: Mark Mann, Diver, 2016, acrylic on panel 10 x 10"
I'm very happy to announce I will be participating in the upcoming fall FAD Market at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. As part of this artist and designer event, I will offer a mix of original paintings and limited-edition prints, as well as a full selection of plaster cast sculptures from the series CACTI. All works range in price from $500 and below.
This fall, FAD Market takes up residence at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn in its newly opened event space, BRKLYN STUDIOS. Over two weekends in September and October, FAD Market brings stunning lineup of over 50 independent designer makers showcasing unique handcrafted art, jewelry, apparel, bath and body care, tableware and home furnishings. Get set for an exciting lineup of interactive activities, artist collaborations and special guest partnerships.
Mark Mann Studio is pleased to offer two images from a group of original paintings entitled O Uncolored People as limited-edition pigment prints. This ongoing series depicts burnt sunbathers as a means to express a side of the American character weary from excess and leisure and instilled with a dark sense humor. Each painting's title is based on popular boys and girls names from 1930s Social Security records, meant to reference an older generation— tough, stoic, but now questioning their status. My goal is to bring qualities of both the strange and sentimental in these pictures—in much the same way the most miserable of vacations can, over time, become the fondest of memories.
All prints are 14 x 14" image size and 16 x 16" paper size on Innova Soft White Cotton. Edition of 10 and 2 artist proofs at $100 each, unframed plus shipping/handling. The giclee printing process is guaranteed by the manufacturers of the ink and the paper to make archival prints capable of lasting more than 100 years.
Details for purchase
I'll be contributing a few new Cacti sculptures to the Calicornucopia 5 holiday show opening Friday, December 9, 7-10pm. It's always a good way to start the winter season and give the gift of art.
Calico’s Annual Holiday Exhibit of Works Priced $300 or Less
December 9-18, 2016
Opening Reception: Dec 9, 7-10pm
Featuring works by: Adams Puryear, Aimee Lusty, Alex Sewell, Allison Maletz, Amanda Browder, Anna Kiljunen, Bartek Walicki, Bob Melzmuf, Caroline Burghardt, Charles Wilkin, Chase Walker Bray, Chris Smith, David B. Smith, Ebru Yildiz, Elana Adler, Eric Lee Bowman, Eric Mavko, Gabrielle Muller, Hannah Lamar, Jenny Mörtsell, John Mckanna, Jon Legere, Julian Rapp, Kate Nielsen, Kenji Nakayama, Kenley Darling, Kirkland Bray, Lauren Silberman, Libby VanderPloeg, Marian Williams, Mark Mann, Michael Hambouz, Mitchell King, Pat Falco, Robert Raphael & Lauren Houston, Roeg Cohen, Scott Chasse, Stacie Johnson, Steph Becker, and Tom Henry
Preview of my new sculptures in the "Studiomates" exhibition @calicobrooklyn opening tomorrow night 7-9pm. Accompanied by select artworks by @scott_chasse @mhambouz @kate_niel @nightflight_to_venus *
(Left to right)
Pearl Hart, 2016
Red River Kid, 2016
Johnny Ringo, 2016
Military gurney with nylon webbing each 96 x 20"