January 24th 2010,The Pandorian
Taking found imagery and film as a point of departure in her work, Marlo Pascual creates photo-based sculptures, installations, and images that employ strategies of artistic movements such as Conceptual Art, Surrealism, Minimalism, and Arte Povera. Re-examining the viewerâs relationship to the photograph, Pascual is interested in exposing an imageâs active presence by playing with the relationship between the work, the space, and the viewer. By creating sites of engagement, whether that site is in the form of the domestic or the theatrical, the image is the catalyst.
Pascual culls her vintage pictures from eBay and thrift stores, some coming out of an amateur photography club where the photographers strive to take âartisticâ photos. They are of historical genres; still lifes, interiors and furniture, portraits, headshots, nudes, and pin-ups. When they arrive, the images are small, handheld, fetish-like objects. In an interplay with the photographâs own physicality as an object, Pascual then enlarges, crops, and re-stages the images using minimalist objects, props and lighting to form new relationships. Filtered through her imagination, the subjects are removed from their previous context and recast in new roles.
Previously, Pascual has made serial works. Rocks act as paperweights, pinafores or anvils, obscuring the heads of the characters placed on the floor. Candle sconces anchor the images of wall-based prints, the flames of the shrinking candles streaming down the cheeks of the subjects while burning. Reminiscent of Charles Rayâs Plank Piece I-II, 1973, photographs are literally propped up or partially concealed by wooden planks that traverse the room, and in others, Flavin-like bulbs pierce images in simultaneous disfigurement and support.
For her first solo exhibition in the gallery, Pascual continues to break, acknowledge and play with the picture plane. Among others, a photograph bends up from floor to wall like a stage for the domestic prop placed upon it, an image of a wine glass and crystal decanter lies shattered on the floor, and slapstick characters call to each other across the wall. A table and chair provide the stage for a âhomemadeâ vintage pin up and moveable panels create a readymade living room. Characters and objects collide in artworks that capture the âconstructionâ performed to create them. Marlo Pascualâs first solo exhibition in New York opened in January of 2009 at the Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art, New York.
Recently, Pascual closed an exhibition at the Sculpture Center, New York as part of the âIn Practiceâ series, and it was announced that she is the recipient of the third Jane and Marc Nathanson Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO for 2010. Group exhibitions include: âcurated by_vienna â09â, a city wide project that presented her work in a group show at Georg Kargl, Vienna (2009); âthree person show,â curated by Amie Scally, White Columns, NY (2008); âCrop Rotationâ curated by Clarissa Dalrymple, Marianne Boesky Gallery, NY (2008); and âTales of the Grotesqueâ, curated by Gianni Jetzer, Karma International, ZĂŒrich, Switzerland (2008). Pascual completed her MFA at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA in 2007. The artist lives and works in New York.
April 26th 2010,by Alex Gartenfeld
New York Amateurs and the forgotten images they make are the source and subject of Marlo Pascualâs installations. Something of an artistsâ artist (she was named a New Artist of the Year in Rob Pruittâs recent Art Awards ceremony, without having had a substantial show or gallery representation), she has likely won recognition because of her cool but uncynically nostalgic use of appropriation. By considering readymade material as an emotive combination of indistinct authorship and material singularity, she strikes a contemporary chord. The Tennessee-born artist, now based in Brooklyn, scours secondhand stores for genre photographsâhead shots, commercial images, soft pornâwhich she blows up and displays. Each found black-and-white photograph is encased in a half-inch-thick layer of transparent Plexiglas, which gives it a sculptural aspect. Sometimes,
Pascual arranges the photos into simple, lackadaisical assemblages that she calls âprops,â which rely primarily on found furniture. The images are all painfully elegant, and evoke the seductiveness of old Hollywood. In one photograph (all works untitled, 2009), a nude woman stands behind steamed glassâa scene from a movie descended from Psycho? A photograph of a set of crystal glasses is laser-cut and laid on the floor to look like it was droppedâor shattered by a single delicate stroke of a hammer. A joke about the fragility of the image, it is also a decidedly atmospheric work.
In the same way that for Craig Owens photography represented âour desire to fix the transitory,â a yearning that âbecomes the subject of the image,â Pascual seems interested in the photograph as an object that must disappoint in its promise of permanence. Entombed in Plexi, these works recall their unknown authors by initials, creases and fingerprints from the original prints, and also in eccentric points of focus, like a subjectâs long, filed fingernails. The strongest work in the show was a diptych of two men cupping their hands around their mouths to shout toward each other. The two photos were installed on adjacent walls; standing in the corner they spanned, viewers became the obstacle to their communicationâor its recipient.