The exhibition Gold Standard by Australian artist Karla Marchesi pairs paintings of lush Dutch Golden Age impossible bouquets alongside functionless and misshaped vessels. Punctuated by motifs of circular voids, warped astronomic systems and hard-edge metal obstructions, these floral arrangements appear strange, fetishized and anthropomorphic. By means of formal disruption these bouquet paintings and accompanying sculptural works explore relationships between nature and culture, and seek to question the constructedness of cultural suppositions and the relevance of cultural dictates with playful incongruity.
Marchesi’s 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. By broaching themes of death and temporality; cultural constructs, contrivances and historical myopia, Marchesi seeks to posit a landscape which draws together traditions of 17th century Vanitas painting and Modernism. These painted mise-en-scènes utilise a tragic-comic sensibility, wherein the bouquet motif operates as a signifier of nascent market capitalism. Adopting a hyperopic vision of human experience, her paintings and sculptural work reflect on the theatricality of our historical moment and address anxieties afflicting contemporary living.
Karla migrated to Berlin in 2012 after undertaking a studio residency at Atelierhaus Mengerzeile, and later made her international solo debut at Kunsthalle M3. She has since participated in a number of international group exhibitions and undertook a solo exhibition in Singapore in 2014, while also exhibiting in regular solo and group shows in Australia.