Arthur Marie at Queer Ideas
Arthur Marie’s first US solo exhibition, “Serenity,” presents a number of work depicting shadowy, macabre figures haunted by the underbelly of digital tradition. The present is centered on Marie’s ongoing “Portrait of a Younger Man” collection, 2021–, which options an expressionless adolescent male locked in profile. His pale visage and brunette hair are solely barely diversified all through the seven items right here. From time to time, his sideswept ’do extends into face-concealing bangs that often retreat to disclose his empty countenance. But his eyes constantly fail to emerge from his distended head. At all times located alone in some barren house, he’s doused by a faint silvery luminescence.
The images recall the frail and melancholic topics of Pre-Raphaelite portray, however this teen is of the digital period, as he seems lit by a pc or telephone display screen (his poor posture causes his neck to protrude, suggesting digital system overuse). Even the artist’s canvases think of the scale of an iPhone photograph, confining his topic to a digitally decided hellscape. The mutability of this boy’s options point out he’s a product of the rigorous self-curation demanded of younger folks in the present day through social media. Whereas his emo haircut and rectangular nerdy glasses in Portrait of a Younger Man #4 (all works 2023) could also be self-conscious selections in id building, he appears to completely lose management of himself in Portrait of a Younger Man #3, as his brow has develop into severely and monstrously warped.
In Commodité Sexuelle (Sexual Comfort), we see a faceless and castrated cream-colored dummy, whereas in Purple Street a long-haired determine emerges via a ghastly blur. These uncanny humanoids seem as elevated translations of web horror-folklore imagery—virtuosically conceived Slender Males. Simply because the mediating powers of digital applied sciences can really feel supernatural, Marie’s work mine the eeriness of on-line omnipresence into moments of semi-spiritual magnificence—an occult aesthetic of a digital serenity.