Carl Hammer Gallery is very pleased to present the paintings of Marc Dennis in his third solo exhibition in the gallery. Dennis makes hyper-realistic and highly detailed paintings that address the subversive potential of desire, pleasure and beauty.
Destabilizing the familiar, dissatisfied with the limits of nature, Dennis leads us into the spectacle of subtly altered worlds, into the spellbound, enigmatic and wondrous terrains of invention and artifice. Marc takes pleasure in painting images that best embody our curiosities and passions, each lovingly, obsessively delineated.
“To an artist, a picture is both a sum of ideas and a blurry memory of “pushing paint,” breathing fumes, dripping oils and wiping brushes, smearing and diluting and mixing,” art historian James Elkins noted in his book, What Painting Is. Marc Dennis’ entire body of work is characterized by this kind of immersion in the physicality of painting. A gifted draftsman with a seemingly boundless, even alarming curiosity for the infinite things of this world, Marc Dennis incessantly draws everything he sees as a record of his encounters, merging art with science, and perhaps more importantly, as a way of embracing and possessing the world spread out before him.
Restlessly imaginative, Dennis is a formalist as well as a fantasist with scientific leanings, as concerned about composition and execution—the relationship of subject and ground, positive and negative space, the interaction of colors, the rendering of textures, light and shadow—as he is about narrative.
Interested in the transformative possibilities of cultural icons, Dennis explores the charged subjects of death, decadence, power and sexuality in his work and the struggle inherent in all relationships, including the duality within our own human nature. Dennis’ carefully arranged and succulently painted images reference the traditional genre of the still life while placing upon his subjects a faintly macabre character.