The work of Marlo Pascual is what Swiss Institute director Gianni Jetzer, who gave the artist her first New York solo show, in 2009, calls a “hybrid organism”: Pascual, 39, blows up vintage photographs, then folds, cuts, and even pierces them with unexpected sculptural elements. An old head shot that recalls a young Elizabeth Taylor is skewered by a Dan Flavin–like neon tube; the eyes in another portrait (below) are obscured by sconces holding, as if part of a séance, flickering candles. “I’m not destroying them,” she says. “I like to think I’m giving them a new life.”
Pacual’s Untitled, 2010.
Initially, Pascual had set out to take pictures. “I wanted to be William Eggleston,” says the artist, who, like Eggleston, is a native Tennessean. After graduating from the University of Tennessee (Kelley Walker, Wade Guyton, and Meredyth Sparks were classmates), Pascual earned an MFA at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. “I applied for photography. When I got there, I didn’t want to take photographs anymore,” she recalls. “But I had to take a painting class, and the first thing I did was pour paint over a photo.”
Her latest manipulations (at New York’s Casey Kaplan gallery through March 24) use found landscape pictures that she transforms with abstract negative spaces. “My installations are kind of like stage sets,” Pascual says. “Except this time, it’s a different movie.” (caseykaplangallery.com)
Hair and makeup by Erin Green for Diorskin; artwork: courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, NY.