Thatcher Projects is pleased to present Composition, the gallery’s third solo exhibition of works by American artist Maria Park.
Through her paintings, Maria Park seeks to address the tension between image and experience, considering projection and expectation as contributed by the viewer. The artist’s works focus on how popular culture, via film, Internet, print media, and more, mediates our perception of the world.
The three bodies of artworks that constitute this exhibition find inspiration from the 1966 Francois Truffaut film Fahrenheit 451. Based on Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel on the effects of mass culture on literature, it was Truffaut's first film in color as well as in English, and has been described by critics as "display[ing] the artisan more than the artist." This particular awkwardness creates a film that is interestingly aware of the potentials and limits of its own medium, inviting viewers of the film to orient themselves within the space created by the separation of image and content.
For Park’s Bookend Sets, scenes from the film – of a domestic table setting, or the flames of books burning - are painted on the face and adjacent sides of 7” Plexiglas cubes and juxtaposed with curated books on wall-mounted shelves. The scenes are selected for the sensation of self-awareness in the film while positing ambiguity over whether the books in each arrangement are chosen for its cover or content.
This is expanded in Covers 13-26 where the covers of Penguin books published between 1937 and 1982 are reverse painted on glass excluding the original text and representational imagery. The ghost-like renditions of the Penguin covers deny content from the work, inviting the viewer to shape the work with their projections while calling for an awareness of such an action. In the installation of Bookcases, various books, abstracted and labeled with illegible text, are depicted together to position the viewer against a hypothetical collection purposed for collective rather than individual reading and suggesting the legibility and meaning that can arise from display.
Maria Park (b. 1972 Munich) is an Associate Professor at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. She received her BFA in 1995 and MFA in painting in 2003 from the San Francisco Art Institute. She has exhibited extensively with a solo museum exhibition at The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in 2005 and in recent group exhibitions at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, (Ithaca, NY) and the Museum of Art at Seoul National University (Seoul, South Korea.) Park is also the recipient of numerous awards including the MFA Grant Award from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2003) and the Korea Arts Foundation of America Award (2002). Her work is in numerous collections including Fidelity Investments and the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she completed a site-specific permanent installation in 2012