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KARLA MARCHESI

Karla Marchesi 'Birds of a feather' 2018 oil on linen 150 x 120 cm

BIOGRAPHY

Berlin based Karla Marchesi has Bachelor of Fine Art (2004) and Honours in Fine Art (2007) degrees from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, where she received the University Medal for academic excellence and the Honours Thesis Prize. Marchesi received the Philip Bacon Galleries Prize for Excellence in Drawing in 2003, enabling her to study for a semester at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, US. Marchesi has held solo exhibitions in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. In 2012 she undertook a studio residency at Atelierhaus Mengerzeile, Berlin that preceeded her first international solo exhibition at Kunsthalle M3, Berlin. She has subsequently participated in a number of international group exhibitions. Marchesi is a recipient of the 1st Prize in the Redland Art Awards (2010), the Wilson Visual Arts Award (2012) and an Australia Council for the Arts Early Career New Work Grant (2013). Her work is included in a number of public collections including The University of Queensland Art Musueum, the Australian Catholic University and several regional galleries.

ARTIST CV

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PAST EXHIBITIONS

TO PROCEED WITHIN A TRAP

16 JANUARY TO 10 FEBRUARY 2019

My recent practice can be described as a reflection on the quasi-religious and gender identity of the artist in the post Internet age, so to a decoding of modernity, filtered through the medium of history painting.

Drawing on a lexicon of the familiar as a means to address anxieties afflicting contemporary living, previous collections in my oeuvre examined thresholds delineating public and private worlds. Scenes of chaotic domestic interiors, suburban vistas and unruly landscapes metaphorically sought to portray the human subject in its absence. Since 2016 my practice has orientated towards the floral still life genre as a means of expression. Through use of art historical appropriation and invention recent bodies of work have utilised a tragic-comic sensibility to scrutinise sociological systems and question our historical moment. Subverting traditions of 17th century Dutch still life painting the collection entitled, After Nature, exhibited with Nicholas Thompson Gallery in 2017, applied the impossible bouquet as a stand in for nascent market-capitalism. This body of work sought to conflate relationships between nature, culture and neo-liberal economics with understated nihilist humour.

In continuation, To proceed within a trap (Nicholas Thompson Gallery, 2019) considers how we govern ourselves within a system of our own creation, constrained by personal beliefs, social mores and broader opaque ideological structures. Interrogating how our desires, anxieties and fears frame perceptions of reality this collection presents a range of psychologically laden mise-en-scenes set within a highly-aesthetic schema. Here themes of autobiography, psychology and sexuality; death and temporality; cultural constructs and geo-politics are traversed with playful irreverence and pathos. Chromatically saturated vistas and kitsch floral bouquets are depicted flanked by nightmarish swarms of birds watching menacingly or violently attacking mid-air. Depicting scenes of fraught fantastical projection this series draws on Hitchcockian horror tropes and signifiers referring to psychotherapeutic diagnosis, catholic-guilt and body-scrutiny, thereby touching on contemporary preoccupations with self-analysis and self-consciousness.  Wherein works such as Guard Post and Wings of Desire, speak to an internalised anxious imagination paintings such as Freedom Fighters and Half Life broach broader subjects such as geo-political instability, surveillance and the universality of life and death.

Works created in 2017 develop a language away from the myopia of individual experience contrarily adopting a hyperopic vision of human experience. Condensing past, present and future; nature, culture and universal death, motifs of circular voids, solar eclipses, celestial bodies and black holes punctuate these later works. Paintings such as The sense of an ending (2017), Deep space, small death (2017) and Eclipse (2017) present an atheistic Vanitas, with a quiet nihilist humour. Abridging the full spectrum of human experience in to three tenets, these works flout any reference to modernity and in doing so reflect on the absurdity of our current socio-cultural landscape and the temporality of our time.

Karla Marchesi 2019

AFTER NATURE

1 TO 23 APRIL 2017

After Nature explores the possibilities of contemporary Vanitas painting. Broaching themes of death and temporality, these works reflect on conditions of contemporary living, cultural contrivances and the nature of human existence. Positing a radically condensed synopsis of human civilisation, these painting mise-en-scènes draw on tragic-comic, personal and idiosyncratic motifs alongside appropriations from art history, in lieu of traditional iconography attributed to the genre.

After Nature should be read as a body of work in search of a secular Vanitas rather than a resolved idea set. The exhibition presents two tenets of recent work: the initial iterations explore the vanities of individualism and persuasion of cultural dictates, whereas later works deviate away from the individual towards the universal.

Provoked by the Vanitas dictum, Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas ("Vanity of vanities, all is vanity), early paintings from this series such as Vanity Fair (2016), Life goals (2016) and Tension meter (2016) feature superimposed gymnasium apparatus, chains and metal poles over representations of 17th century Dutch still lifes. These impossible bouquets, a culturally constructed arrangement wherein the flora depicted cannot bloom simultaneously, allude to bourgeoning middle-class wealth and the first manifestations of market capitalism. In this body of work such bouquets act as a stand in for the absurdity and constructedness of cultural suppositions; namely measures of achievement attained by the individual, whether they ascribe to conventional beauty standards, competitive success or wealth aspirations. The inorganic punctuations formally bisecting the background vegetation allude to the impossibility of fulfilling contemporary cultural dictates with an irreverent tragicomic humour.

Works created in 2017 develop a language away from the myopia of individual experience contrarily adopting a hyperopic vision of human experience. Condensing past, present and future; nature, culture and universal death, motifs of circular voids, solar eclipses, celestial bodies and black holes punctuate these later works. Paintings such as The sense of an ending (2017), Deep space, small death (2017) and Eclipse (2017) present an atheistic Vanitas, with a quiet nihilist humour. Abridging the full spectrum of human experience in to three tenets, these works flout any reference to modernity and in doing so reflect on the absurdity of our current socio-cultural landscape and the temporality of our time.

Karla Marchesi

STOCKROOM

NEWS

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KARLA MARCHESI IS A FINALIST IN THE ARTHUR GUY MEMORIAL PAINTING PRIZE 2019 AT BENDIGO ART GALLERY

Karla Marchesi ‘Wings of Desire’ 2018 oil on linen 160 x 145 cm⁣ Exhibition current 14 September to 8 December 2019⁣

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Karla Marchesi finalist in the 2017 Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize at Bendigo Art Gallery

LINK TO PRIZE BELOW: http://www.bendigoartgallery.com.au/prizes_scholarships/arthur_guy_memorial_painting_prize

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KARLA MARCHESI PROFILED IN ‘THIS WILD SONG’

LINK TO STORY BELOW: http://thiswildsong.com.au/KarlaMarchesi.html

KARLA MARCHESI WORK FEATURED IN EXHIBITION ‘A CONVERSATION ABOUT PORTRAITURE’ AT PINE RIVERS ART GALLERY UNTIL 3 SEPTEMBER

KARLA MARCHESI WORK FEATURED IN EXHIBITION ‘A CONVERSATION ABOUT PORTRAITURE’ AT PINE RIVERS ART GALLERY UNTIL 3 SEPTEMBER

Exhibition: A Conversation about Portraiture This exhibition explores the many approaches to portraiture, from the traditional through to non-figurative, informal approaches to the genre. The exhibition features artists Bianca Beetson, Michael Cook, Donna Davis, Julie Fragar, Ryan Fraser, Oscar Fristrom, Karla Marchesi, Nan Paterson, William Platz, Nic Plowman, Leanne Sauer, Leonard Shillam, Kaye Stuart and…

CELESTE CHANDLER AND KARLA MARCHESI FINALISTS IN THE BAYSIDE ACQUISITIVE ART PRIZE

CELESTE CHANDLER AND KARLA MARCHESI FINALISTS IN THE BAYSIDE ACQUISITIVE ART PRIZE

The Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize (BAAP) is an annual prize and exhibition that aims to increase opportunities for participation in Bayside’s arts and cultural program; foster a sense of identity, pride and place in Bayside through a community event; and enable the acquisition of suitable artworks for the Bayside City Council Art & Heritage Collection.…

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