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Mark Dean Veca

September 2-May 30, 2013

Mark Dean Veca is a rare type of artist who possesses an incredible ability to work freely between intimately detailed ink on paper works and immersive large-scale museum installations. The common thread unifying his work is an idiosyncratic draftsmanship that can reconfigure and redefine any cultural icon or pop image to have a distinctively new presence and meaning.

What makes drawing inventive and enjoyable is the possibly that anything can happen. Divinity Degenerate is a wall drawing comprised of Pegasus shaped silhouettes, which seem to puncture through the existing interior wall to reveal a tangerine sky. The grand scale of Veca’s exquisite design, 400 x 554 inches. stimulates peripheral perception and simulates the visual sensation of a life-sized sunset view. By employing a seemingly simple pattern, Veca composes a field of repeating forms taken from the ubiquitous Mobil Oil logo. The mythical winged horses are meticulously aligned in rows with a diagonal orientation. Black calligraphic brushstrokes define the contours of the silhouettes. Spreading and twisting like out of control ivy, Veca’s lively line work emphasizes the tension between the flatness of the blank white wall and the glowing expanse seen through the logo shaped apertures.

Divinity Degenerate achieves visual harmony through a masterful balancing act. The drawing’s compositional pattern of positive and negative interlock is immediate and mesmerizing. The smooth stillness of the white wall is frontal and solid, while the soft sky in the illusionary voids is framed with an irregular jagged edge. By compressing these contrasting elements, Veca presents a vibrating plane and suggests a situation in flux. The layering of imagery is painterly and complex. Sunsets are picturesque and romantic, but here Veca’s aura is also pure energy that fuels the work. The vista ascends upward with a gradient transition from golden yellow to radiant orange to cool magenta and lastly to bright red. Superimposed atop the chromatic activity, zigzagging rows of Pegasus fleets are poised in a downward trajectory. Compositionally the overlay of distinctly different directionalities creates a crosscurrent, which is simultaneously reminiscent of burning embers adrift above a crackling campfire and of colorful falling leaves caught in a pleasant autumn breeze. Narratively Veca explores imagery and subject matter that can have dual readings. The Pegasus’ flight may end with a gracefully coordinated landing amidst a rosy sunset glow, or the scenario may be a high-speed crash course into a raging oil field inferno.

Mark Dean Veca was born in 1963 in Shreveport, Louisiana, and received his BFA in Painting at Otis Art Institute in 1985. His work has been exhibited throughout the North America, Europe, and Japan at institutions such as PS1/MOMA, The Drawing Center, The Brooklyn Museum, Bloomberg Space, and the Orange County Museum of Art. Reviews of Veca’s work have appeared in numerous publications including The Los Angeles Times,The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Juxtapoz, and Hi-Fructose. He received fellowships from The New York Foundation for the Arts in 1998, 2002, and 2008, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2006, and a C.O.L.A. grant in 2011.