Goldfinch is thrilled to present Night Life, our second solo exhibition of paintings by Mari Eastman. The exhibition will be on view from Sunday, November 14th (opening reception) through Saturday, December 18th, 2021. Gallery hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 12-4pm, and by appointment.
Whimsical, romantic, and deeply engaged with modern art history, Eastman's subject matter shifts between the realms of nature and culture: lush forest landscapes, floral still life paintings, and animals such as wolves, bats, foxes, cats and possums show up frequently, but so do well-coiffed feminine figures wearing patterned outfits and chic accessories. Other ongoing inspirations include Asian decorative arts, vintage fabric patterns, fashion magazines and supermodels, and the artist's memories of past moments in her own life as well as in pop culture history.
Eastman, who graduated from the School of the Art Institute in 1996 and lived and worked in Los Angeles for well over a decade after that, hails from a late 90s generation of artists for whom distinctions between high and low, good taste and kitsch, and originality and derivation are mostly irrelevant. All are embraced as part of a spectrum of consumer longing and the complex construction of identity and subjectivity by media culture. For Eastman, photographic images serve not only as ready source materials but also as totems of memory and desire-compromised, and complicated, though that desire may sometimes be. Media images (including traditional print media like magazines as well as social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest) are one mechanism through which our seemingly seemingly authentic desires are constructed, collected, and then sold back to us, which is why for Eastman, images of the 1980s-era supermodel Gia Carangi or a fluffy cat provides as much inspiration as an Edouard Manet bouquet painting or a Juan Sánchez Cotán bodegone.
Eastman's depictions of greenery and animals (both wild and domestic) also remind us that our perception of what "nature" is-including our own, human nature-is shaped by the cultures in which we are embedded. In turn, the artist's fashion-themed images call attention to the allure of surfaces and to the body as a type of surface, capable of being creatively manipulated through various forms of adornment.