Andrea Mary Marshall has put together a new body of work on view at Garis & Hahn Gallery on Bowery located right below Houston street in New York. For Sacred/Iconic, she has embodied a fourth persona and after the over the top, iconic Gia (a wild haired diva who was the combination of the Mona Lisa and Diana Ross), currently she has brought together the masculinity of Elvis and a feigning Geisha. The ground floor houses the work itself, black and white photographs, several abstract paintings and a series of framed fans, splayed and splattered with paint.
At first, it’s difficult to string together and connect the three very different types of work with one exhibition. The paintings are very loose, contrary to the figurative work made by “Gia Condo” and color is stripped down to black, a lilac and hints of lipstick red. The photographs present the artist in a different light, clad in a black leather motorcycle jacket and black jeans, a geisha wig with sideburns. She is a he, but he is also a she. Marshall, not afraid of nudity, flashes her breasts arms lifted as if stretching or combing her hair. In a simple gesture, body language blurs gender and begs for a double-take. At this stage of the exhibition, the elements are still unexplained and appear as if they were made by three different artists, or perhaps three alter egos.
Walking down to the lower level of the gallery, everything starts coming together in a two-channel, diptych video, accompanied by an audio montage of yes, Elvis songs. In the video, Marshall performs two different characters. It’s as if her mind, like the projections, has been split down the center and on one side is the masculine and the other the feminine. The feminine “fan” shimmies and twirls, waving her paper fan in the air. It’s subtle, but she loves Elvis. “Elvis”, in the neighboring projection, is a painter. Here the artist brings together the swagger and sexy energy of Elvis along with the physical action of Jackson Pollack, who leans over the canvas on the floor, dripping and wiping paint onto the surface.
|In the video, the “Elvis/Jackson Pollock” mash-up paints, smokes cigarettes, strips down a bit, and applies paint with a fan. At times folded up and used to flick pigment and other times splayed, functioning as a ridged, delicate brush. This explains the painted fans in the first room. The abstract paintings were made during the performance. Elvis, channeling Jackson Pollock, dripped, splashed and aggressively applied paint to the white canvas surface using the paper fans, many of which started to dissolve under the pressure of usage and weight of the enamel paint. Someone the energy in this application process, observed by the nearby Geisha girl, fanning and swaying in her feathered skirt is both absurd and convincing. Andrea Mary Marshall, is a young artist and each of her recent exhibitions could be construed as a exploratory process, not only in media, but also making the acquaintance of the characters that emerge from her ID. Channeling a performative tradition that was dominant in the 1970s and 80s, her fearless projection of particular symbols and semiotics (and stereotypes!) also somehow transports us to a time pre-political correctness. The installation and arrangement of the paintings, photographs and framed fans on the first level needed to be edited down, and/or further integrated. The video is the catalyst and the icing on the cake after which all the other works merge. Going forward it will be interesting to watch her artistic evolution and growth as decisions are tightened, honed in, and simplified. She has a gift of physical transformation, a throw-back, brought to today. A bit in limbo, but not unlike a hot air balloon, that needs to be tied down before it floats away.|
Also, in the exhibition is work by Lucas Grogan. On October 17th, Andrea Mary Marshall will be present in the gallery, doing a live performance. Sacred/Iconic will be on view until October 19th, 2013.