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Mark Greenwold: Complicatedly Complex

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Phong Bui reviews the exhibition Mark Greenwold: Murdering the World, Paintings and Drawings 2007-2013 at Sperone Westwater, New York, on view though June 28, 2013.

Intrigued by the multiple complexities in Greenwold's paintings, Bui writes: "With their repeated penetration of lines, Greenwold’s new paintings and drawings evoke Giacometti’s existential angst, while the calibration of scale among figures, objects, interiors, and landscapes conjures Balthus’s magnified psychological space. It’s notable that Greenwold achieves this synthesis despite his reliance on photographic sources, as opposed to Balthus’s and Giacometti’s use of direct observation. Greenwold gathers material for each painting by selecting fragmented reproductions of objects or interiors from design or architecture magazines for the backgrounds, and his own photos for the figures. While reflecting on this issue of searching for an ideal environment, which is constructed from other fragments of places and times, I remembered how Kafka seemed to imagine his characters and places in his mind’s eye rather than in specific locales; in Amerika, Karl Rossmann imagines the U.S. as a land of infinite possibility where everyone succeeds beyond his or her own dreams and fails beyond their wildest horrors. The novel ostensibly ends with Rossmann on the train heading out to work for the Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Greenwold, too, has created his own theater of the absurd, though anti-nature and with a bent of humor and optimism."

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