Marcus Kenney presents Romance 2020, a solo exhibition of sculptures and paintings in his signature style of collaging and assembling a broad range of found materials.
Marcus Kenney creates whimsical, disturbing paintings and sculptures of elaborately and meticulously-collaged found materials. Jerry Cullum wrote in The Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2004, “The technique of collage has rarely been put to more intelligently entertaining uses.” Tangible objects – toothbrushes, cigar labels, human hair, wall paper – signify to the viewer the implications in the works of art in the context of Kenney’s juxtaposition of them, as he questions abstract ideas of beauty, truth, love and peace. Observing America’s infamous obsession with things Kenney subversively and eloquently uses the things themselves to direct attention to dangers and concerns of our times.
Kenney’s work has typically featured narratives in the vein of children’s stories telling of impending doom through dichotomized scenes in which the viewer is pulled in various directions. In works like the large “Dirty Bomb (kiss yo ass goodbye)” he has applied vintage grocery store stamps and booklets (greenbax, S & H, etc.) featuring typical American imagery such as piggy banks, money bags and police officers, to create an abstract wall. These booklets were used to acquire things like dishware, blow-driers, irons and so on. Kenney has layered the wall of abstracted imagery with Tulle fabric (commonly used for holding rice to be thrown at weddings) to create a seemingly exploding bomb and dotted throughout with little red lips. The selection of materials triggers a sense of nostalgia and memory associated with these objects, while at the same time the use of provocative titles insures the paintings are not mistaken to be simply nostalgic musings. Rather, the use of the found objects provoke a discourse on consumer culture, the nature of beauty in a disposable world, the environment, race relations and war. In the upcoming exhibition Kenney’s repertoire of materials has expanded yet again. In one series he has taken our culture’s ever growing obsession with taxidermy to new places, treating the preserved animal as a launching pad to discuss topics such as gender, fashion and politics. For instance his “Bubba Demigod”; a deer whose fur has become camouflage, with gold leafed antlers and various fruits and vegetables adorning his neck. “Archeologist-meets-conceptualist Kenney is like Noam Chomsky on a thrift store spree. He’s a mix-master of the mad mothball flurry of imagery and matter that makes up our cultural legacy.” Felicia Feaster, Creative Loafing, 2003.
Marcus Kenney (b. 1972) was born and raised in rural Louisiana and currently lives and works in Savannah, GA. Marcia Wood Gallery is pleased to announce the fourth solo exhibition at the gallery by Marcus Kenney. Kenney has had solo museum exhibitions at the Jepson Center at the Telfair Museum in Savannah and the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA, with upcoming one man and group exhibitions at the Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA and MOCA GA, Atlanta, GA, respectively. Kenney has exhibited in museums, institutions, galleries and art fairs internationally, including Israel, Paris, London,Montreal, New York, Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, St Louis and Minneapolis, Miami, and Portland, among others. and he has been Kenney has been well-received in exhibits and art fairs in Chicago, New York and Boston. Kenney was also featured in the 2004 New American Paintings Southern Edition. Earlier activity includes inclusion in the Georgia Triennial 2003 and 2002 (a traveling exhibition highlighting a select number of Georgia artists), as well as the exhibition “Georgia Seven” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, GA, 2004, curated by Radcliffe Bailey. His bibliography includes Art in America, Oxford American, The New York Sun, The Boston Globe, Art Papers, New American Paintings, and National Public Radio, among others.
Through January 1.
Marcia Wood Gallery
263 Walker Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30313