A solo exhibition by Mark Arcamo
Moving Boundaries Both Spatial and Imagined
With Mark Dawn Arcamo’s recent works in “Peripheral Distractions,” the artist explores the dynamics and interstices between reality and its fringes, composing his paintings and newly-introduced collage pieces on canvas rendered in varying colors. Motion, balance and depths of perception unify Arcamo’s pieces, with his play on spatial aspects and layering visual elements setting the framework of his new iterations and ventures into imagery, stretching the limitations of his chosen form.
The artist’s mastery in splicing the flat grounds of his acrylic on canvas works reinforce the vision of his previous exhibitions. In Asymmetric Relation, a woman’s face is partially exposed, juxtaposed with floral forms with limbs from a central figure and a man hidden in the background. Pyramids float in the sky as a mansion leads to a garden and a pool with its blues and greys. Motion Adaptation boasts of a masculine character dominating the space, yet anonymized by hidden facial features. Layered behind him are multiple imprints of women and what seems to be different flattened layers of canvas while the pyramids are joined by other more imperfect shapes that resemble irregular blocks of concrete. In Perceived Motion, however, Arcamo’s penchant for mysterious figures is infringed with a glimpse of a familiar Hollywood celebrity with flower petals signifying romance and drama, as well as an early version of a movie camera, perhaps as an ode to motion pictures and how its technology changed our sensitivities when it comes to action and the interpretation of manufactured narratives.
Included in the exhibition are Arcamo’s collages, which, though a bit smaller in size compared to his paintings, nevertheless show accomplished accounts all their own. Fragments of scanned and photocopied images from books and magazines infuse the materials with the artist’s experiences and experimentation with color and composition, creating pieces that are less formally designed and restricted, and more expressive. They do not create a disconnect, rather, they seamlessly relate to and inform the fully painted pieces in line with the artist’s objective with retaining his vision underscored in all artworks while undertaking an important transition in his practice.
The pieces are studies in awareness and distraction, serving as veritable investigations in optical illusion in testing which elements stand out and which ones are camouflaged in the midst of puzzle-like, yet intentionally composed fragments of objects and historical references associated with modernity. In Relative Contrasts, Arcamo coats his collage with layers of paint that serve to cloak details and emphasize the shadows that make up the depth of the varying grounds receding from one’s view. Again, bodies have obscured faces, with no identifiers except for the somberness of their clothing. Mental Imagery posits pieces of machinery and cutouts from commerce, transport and technology surrounding a white-profiled central figure while a bullet whizzes overhead. Aftereffect 1 and 2 seem like acid trips in pale yellows and celadon showing figures with torn-out faces and scenes of destruction seemingly brought on by biological warfare. Visual Perception 1-5 seem to be multilayered landscapes that border on dream stages set up with images of industrialization, factory fragments and large work spaces; a splintered and layered view of a train’s cross section and stations lorded over by a man in white pants; building features spliced on top of each other; and groups of men conversing amongst themselves, seemingly plotting the next business enterprise, or perhaps, even the launch of a nefarious scheme to take over the world.
As Arcamo plots the foundation for his future works, he also teases his audience’s acuity for details that they might just miss. By stressing the importance of the periphery, the artist seems to direct viewers’ perceptions to what are, as yet, unseen, perhaps as portents for what is yet to come.
Words by Kaye O’Yek