Canada is pleased to present TORSO, an exhibition of paintings by Annabeth Marks. Intimate in scale and materially inventive, the paintings are constructions of layered cut painted canvas. The color is high chroma, vibrant greens, banana yellow, light blues and hot oranges. The colors are echoed and strengthened by the physical layers that literalize the forms, mostly rectangles and loosely gridded squares. Marks’ process starts by painting stretched canvas, which she then cuts away from the support, disassembling and reconstructing its forms onto a fresh surface - in some works over and over again. The structure of the stretcher, the height and width of its face and edges become formal elements in the construction of the painting, creating a surface architecture that simultaneously reinforces and reconfigures the stretched “objectness” of the paintings. The results are mysterious, playful and sturdy.
Slender straps and tabs, created by carefully cutting away indented edges hang off the paintings. Functioning as extensions of the internal gridded structures, they simultaneously draw the composition into the space of the room as well as bind the paintings to the stretcher. And, as the title TORSO suggests, the paintings seem to wear other paintings, implying that the rectangular surfaces are stand ins for the human body. Uninterested in perfection, Marks’ grids often go awry, as color patches slump and bump against each other, a reflection of the painter and painting relaxing into each other. For Marks, the act of painting is full of revision: cutting, ripping, attaching, folding, weaving, wrapping, as a way to arrive at a form that holds both surprise and invention.
Marks has a particular interest in the center of her paintings. Sometimes the center is a field of solid color, at times they contain references to a florid abstract landscape. The landscapes hint at source material and a longing for release, they offer us a space of looking in, while the areas of flat color bring our attention to the material presence of the surface. Marks’ can adhere and not adhere to the traditional rules of the tableau. There is an insistence on the rectangle, as well as the frame as a painting tool. The works are investigations into the many modes of painting, and of what is necessary and what isn’t.
Annabeth Marks (born 1986, Rochester, New York) received her MFA in painting from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Recently, Marks’ work was the subject of an institutional solo exhibition at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI. Recent solo exhibitions include presentations at Franz Kaka, Toronto; Fahrenheit Madrid, Spain; Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles, and White Columns, New York. Notable group exhibitions include shows at Halsey McKay, East Hampton, NY; Derek Eller Gallery, New York; and Overduin and Co., Los Angeles, among others. Her work has been included in institutional group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMa PS1, both in New York, and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI. TORSO is the artist’s first exhibition at Canada.