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Christmas Already? - FAD Magazine

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Christmas Already?

New York based artist Marco Pariani
Marco Pariani: ‘Jetpack Santa’, 2022 – oil, acrylic and spray paint on linen, 216 x 165 cm

What makes art so inexhaustible? Not only does it responds to a vast and ever-changing world, but the artist chooses a subject and an attitude, and a means of responding to it, so immediately you have seemingly infinite possibilities. Then you add abstraction and the intermediate states between representation and abstraction… You can argue that all paintings contain elements of both, as you can always interpret abstraction as showing something, and no successful figurative painting is unaware of its abstract qualities. But that interplay can also be explicit.

To take a current example of art’s inexhaustibility, New York based artist Marco Pariani’s process is unusual: he spends a long time preparing a ground of layered gesso and acrylic, then works very rapidly on top of that. And he has chosen a subject I’ve never seen tackled before – inflatable Santas – and then abstracted it almost beyond recognition. Indeed, I had to google images of the bizarre American trope, in which his sledge is often replaced by a helicopter or jetpack, to be sure of what I was seeing. So it took me a while to realise that Christmas has come exceptionally early at Skarstedt (26th May – 8th July). Maybe there’s a critical agenda there, as the commercialism served by the myth of Father Christmas is that much more unnatural in the summer. That said, a Pariani would make a nice enough Christmas present…

Inflatable Jetpack Santa

Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head

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