SUGAR FEVER DREAM
EXHIBITION CURRENT TO 15 MAY 2021
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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 participated in international solo and group exhibitions in Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany. 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 Museum of Brisbane, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland Art Museum, the Australian Catholic University and several regional galleries.
Sugar Fever Dream presents a range of hyper-natural Post-Humanist landscapes. These paintings are bowls of brightly wrapped candy, offering enticement on first glance, but may induce nausea if consumed in totality.
With an air of affirmative nihilism and a playful aesthetic of excess, Sugar Fever Dream is a counter vision to Western thought at the height of anthropocentrism. In a waking nightmare of interspecies revenge, this collection draws 17th century Still Life and Vanitas traditions into a Contemporary post-internet landscape. Employing Ecohorror tropes, Art Historical references, semiotic and autobiographical elements, the Still Lifes pulse with life. Nonhuman entities are protagonists embodied with agency, movement, menace and desire: from the skies of the heavens to the depths of the ocean floor.
My practice has long employed the still life genre as a means through which to reflect upon socio-cultural anxieties of our age. The paintings theatrically critique what it means to be human at this present moment under conditions of late capitalism and existential climate crisis, interweaving an allegoric deconstruction of ideological systems with autobiography, pathos and humour.
Here the nonhuman actors perform as guides reflecting ourselves back to ourselves, as the violence and vulnerability of our time is navigated. Tangled digital ouroboroi present visions of existential confusion. Slaughtered game rise from the dead. Octopus yearn for touch. Rock lobsters transcend the decadence of civilization in hubristic decline. Baby squid find tender shelter in a graveyard. Portals of escape are offered through digital displacements. Sugar Fever Dream beckons you to feast. Give yourself over to the belly of the beast. Laugh so much you want to cry; cry so much you have to laugh.