2016 Season IV
Artist Statement/ Biography
There is queerness lurking in Epstein's recent abstract compositions. Unlike say, the hanky code, where a single color denotes a particular sexual proclivity, his works are meant to be looked at for their combinations of colors. Epstein is far less interested in hues or patterns in isolation than he is in these elements forced together—layered, interrupted, obfuscated and otherwise occupying the same spaces. The work says to the viewer, take these elements together, or not at all. Some passages have a purposeful, baroque quality. Neon is celebrated, often coming through in fields of clumsily rendered pattern. There is a worshipping of the hard-edged but not quite a mastery of it. The works are meant to be funny and self-conscious, winking and teary-eyed all at once. It’s a Sunday night drag show where everyone’s makeup is a little bit smeared and everyone’s voice is a little bit raspy from the weekend’s antics. Epstein is inspired by the revered and the crass—by the titans of geometric abstraction and by the cheap plastic tablecloths sold by the yard at dollar stores. In my studio practice there is no distinction between capital “A” Art, with it’s authoritarian stamp and mass-produced (and mass-consumed) design, with it’s anonymous creators never getting to claim credit. The work celebrates all of it.---
Mark Joshua Epstein's work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Biquini Wax, Mexico City, Brian Morris Gallery, New York, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, Vane Gallery, Newcastle, England, amongst other places. Epstein had a recent two-person show at Demo Projects in Springfield, Illinois and recently had work in group shows at Schema Projects, Brooklyn, Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia and School33 Art Center, Baltimore. Epstein has participated in a number of residency programs including the Millay Colony, the Macdowell Colony and the Saltonstall Foundation. Epstein’s work has been featured in New American Paintings and L’Officiel Mexico magazine.