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Marc Dennis at GAVLAK


At Gavlak, Marc Dennis’ Once Upon a Time is a mashup of traditional painting technique and a saccharine, Disney-esque one. His paintings utilize a hyperrealistic style to create voluptuous flower bouquets, rendered in a 17th century Dutch still life style, with bountiful bouquets set against dark backdrops with shallow depth of field. Dennis mimics this style with acumen, creating blooms that are delicately arranged. Yet, on top of his precise paintings are sticker-like depictions of cartoon characters that feel like they have pranced out of Sleeping Beauty to land directly onto his canvases. 

Elsewhere, Dennis mars his canvases using a different approach: Trompe-l’oeil gashes in his canvas expose the stretcher bars below, a painterly trick that at once flexes skill and defaces his works. Across the show, tradition is remixed and transgressed while pointing to the ever-shifting tides of visual style and the impacts they have on culture. 

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 On view: December 15, 2022 – January 28, 2023

Photo: Marc Dennis, Once Upon a Time at Gavlak. Image courtesy of the artist and Gavlak Gallery.