Australian artist Mark Whalen’s latest exhibition “Stranded,” opening April 5 at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in LA, explores different realms of our modern world through meticulously crafted paintings and sculptures that closely examine notions of invention, communication, physical space, emotion, sexuality, interaction and ritual.
Whalen’s aesthetic extends to various influences. Although he is primarily a painter, for this show, he created contemporary pictorial ceramic vessels that mimic the archaeological record of Ancient Greece. Through these works, Whalen modified these strictly utilitarian pieces into both functional and artful objects that exist in contemporary society. He has placed his own archeological record among a grand tradition of the past. But despite the reference to antiquity, Whalen’s designs are reminiscent of a blend between Art Deco tiles and Matisse-inspired human figures.
The paintings that accompany Whalen’s ceramics entail line precision and a growing color palette that create absurd and surreal landscapes. Existing on a geometric grid, Whalen’s subjects interact within constrained surfaces that according to the artist, “explore different human interactions that take place in the modern world, and within defined interior space.” He coats his paintings in layers of clear, glossy resin, creating a plane for the artist to explore spatial possibilities and relativity within his narrative.
“Stranded” will be on view at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles, CA from April 5 to May 3, 2014.