Marcarson: ‘Alive with Pleasure’Parasol Projects @ 213 Bowery
Marcarson: Alive with Pleasure @ 213 Bowery
May 22 – 27, 2019 | 10 am – 8 pm
Opening Reception: May 22, 2019 | 6 pm – 8 pm
Alive With Pleasure is a solo show of Mark Carson’s provocative paintings. organized and curated by Jenna Ferrey.
Inspired by vintage Newport Cigarette advertisements Alive With Pleasure features layered paintings that explore themes of life, pleasure, expectations and disappointment. The sexually suggestive Newport Cigarette advertisements depicted young, attractive, smiling people engaged in physical activity. When incorporated into Marcarson’s mixed media pieces, the insincerity of the images is palpable. Alive With Pleasure highlights our desperate attempts to find pleasure, contentedness or happiness and the simultaneous tendency to turn to crutches such as drugs, sex, alcohol, or other vices to convince ourselves we are happy. In the current Instagram culture, these hollow images of smiling faces ring particularly false.
The notion that we perform pleasure rather than experience it has inspired Marcarson’s avant-garde comedic works. Newport’s advertisements asked, without irony, “After all, if smoking isn’t a pleasure, why bother?” Through the manipulation, layering, and reordering of these images, Marcarson’s paintings become a treatise on the lies we tell ourselves. Alive With Pleasure questions what pleasure is. Is it the fleeting enjoyment of a cigarette? Is it the rush of a sexual encounter? Is pleasure our ultimate goal? The juxtaposition between message and experience is highlighted in Marcarson’s work. His piece Origin of Holy Water, for example criticizes the idea of finding unexamined comfort in religion, sex, or consumerism. He takes an image of a young busty girl with wet hair and a wet T-shirt playing in a fountain and re-contextualizes it as a toilet.
Marcarson’s logo, Free Face, is painted over the faces of the people who appear in his works to not only make them instantly recognizable as one of his pieces, but suggests that each of the figures in these works is an everyman. The universal eyes and stylized mouth mean that each figure is nearly interchangeable with the other. We are united in our isolation. Each of us could be one of the figures in this work. We all seek to be Alive With Pleasure and are at least some of the time unsure of where to turn to achieve this feeling. By obscuring their faces, Marcarson makes the irony of each of these works relatable. We are able, in some ways to see ourselves in these disfigured images.
For press or sales Inquiries please contact Jenna Ferrey: firstname.lastname@example.org