Combining the unlikely styles of hard-edged graphics and painterly abstraction, Marcus Harveyâ€™s Golden Showers draws from the aesthetic associations of expressionism and pop. Capturing the violent energy of De Kooningâ€™s women, Harvey sets his canvas in the field of psychological self-consciousness, pervading the image with unrestrained emotion. Overlaid with a sexy stylised outline reminiscent of Patrick Caulfield, Harveyâ€™s painting balances between idealised glamour and guttural instinct.
Taking his images sources from home-brew porn magazine Readerâ€™s Wives, Marcus Harveyâ€™s early canvases use paint as a means to explore the concept of excess. Replicating smutty urgency, Harveyâ€™s Julie from Hull is bathed in frenzied gushy pink, a dirty allurement promising fleshy debauchery. Using a heavy black line over a thick expressionist ground, Harveyâ€™s graphic form becomes both container and barrier of over-indulgence, the promise of gratification monumentalised and ever distant.
Depicted with the stark outlines of graphic arts and instructional manuals, Marcus Harveyâ€™s x-rated reproductions become neutral instigators of interpretive response. Empty and generic, they offer sex as a commodified banality onto which all manner of fantasy is projected. Placed over highly emotive backgrounds, Harvey activates these images with tragic-comic fervour. The crotch-shot in Readerâ€™s Wife 1 conveys all the excitement and pathos of amateur porn: clumsy, naÃ¯ve, and filthy to the core, Harveyâ€™s painterly response both mimics and exceeds pornographic expectation.
Through his paintings Marcus Harvey explores pornography as a phenomenon of frustration. Using the instantaneity of paint, Harvey builds his canvases up as raw explosions, his brushwork capturing the urgency and sheer physicality of sexual fixation. Tracing over his gestures with images taken from top-shelf zines, Harvey places his desire in the teasing world of pop, uniting detached graphic image and aggrandised emotion as a parody of media portrayal and Pavlovian response.
Created with paint and fibreglass impasto, Marcus Harveyâ€™s Study for Broken Lock combines the idealised aesthetics of high art with gritty realism. The materiality of the paintingâ€™s textured surface draws the viewer further into the illicit scene, the desire to look heightened with the desire to touch. Using the mimetic qualities of his medium, Harvey chisels graffiti, and inlays â€˜tilesâ€™, and renders the loo bog-grimy; only the thin-stencilled lines give solidified form to his painterly composition. Flirting between abstraction and peepshow, Harvey resituates theviewer’s gaze as something voyeuristic and self-conscious.