Recent works from Marlon Mullen are on view February 6 through March 15, 2020 at Adams And Ollman, 418 NW 8th Avenue in Portland, Oregon. Opening reception is Thursday, February 6 from 6:00-8:00 pm
Adams and Ollman is pleased to invite you to the gallery’s third exhibition with artist Marlon Mullen. The show will feature bold, vibrant paintings made by Mullen over the last five years, many featuring the artist’s characteristic references to art magazines and periodicals such as Artforum and Art in America, among others.
On view will be a selection of the artist’s kaleidoscopic paintings, each with interlocking shapes of tactile paint that reference images found in magazines and books from the library at Nurturing Independence Through Artistic Development (NIAD), a progressive art studio in Richmond, California that supports the endeavors of artists with disabilities and where Mullen has worked since the mid-1980s. While Mullen’s paintings are based on existing imagery appropriated from another artist’s work, the graphic design of an advertisement, or the cover of a magazine, Mullen transforms his source beyond recognition, using it only as a framework on which to organize his lavish passages of paint.
A strong formalist, Mullen paints precise shapes in bold swirls of vivid colors. As he distills and reconstructs his references, the paintings come to withhold what one might consider vital information, prioritizing previously minor or overlooked details. His topographical pools of paint and confident graphic lines delineate forms that had formerly served to make an image. On Mullen’s surfaces, the components are liberated from any purpose other than generating composition, gesture, and rhythm. In a similar fashion, text is rendered not necessarily to be read, but rather as imagery that performs an aesthetic or poetic function.
With his uniquely rigorous manner of organizing the picture plane, Mullen upsets the expected hierarchy of elements in an image. Shadows become prominent, the stripes of a magazine barcode take on an oversized presence, and key elements of the picture are emptied of details. Amidst these radical transmutations, the artist creates his own idiosyncratic universe that toggles gloriously between representation and abstraction.