Mark Dean Veca (featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 23) takes the concept of a mural and transforms it into an immersive environment. His latest installation, “Le Poppy Den,” premiered at David B. Smith Gallery in Denver on March 14. Thick, heavy line work, hand-painted with acrylic, billows on the gallery walls like rolling clouds of smoke. Veca’s painting style is marked by an illustrative quality, taking the curved, exaggerated lines and textures seen in early comics and cartoons and removing them from their context. His murals and paintings are predominantly abstract, but his line work invites the viewer to seek out and imagine potential figures within the curves and blobs.
Preoccupied with the effects of consumer culture, Veca says he chose red for the installation because, in the design world, it is a color known to drive consumerism and hunger. His title for this site-specific work, “Le Poppy Den,” evokes the 19th-century opium dens described in literature — perhaps a commentary on the ways an inundation of visual marketing in today’s society dulls our sensibilities.
“Le Poppy Den” is on view through April 12 at David B. Smith Gallery.