Marc Dennis, Dragonslayer, 2011
Painter Marc Dennis has a cheeky meta-style often incorporating famous works of art into his hyper-realistic paintings. He has one that features a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader viewing a Picasso, and another where a museum-goer’s head blocks the vulva in Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World. Dennis also likes iconographic figures like rappers or say, the Incredible Hulk, and his paintings tend to be a blend of modern pop and recognizable art world imagery. It can be a little heavy-handed at times, but the stuff in his Honey Bunny show—which takes its name from a Jeff Koons balloon bunny reproduction trinket featured in some of the paintings—is a bit more subtle and intriguing.
Dennis goes hard for contrast—kittens and guns, a fluffy dog and raw meat—favoring firearms with desserts or cute things to convey strangely masculine still lifes and pet portraiture. Dennis views his work as a sort of statement on paternity, saying in a live gallery interview:
The body of paintings that are represented in this exhibition have to do with one, my being an American male, a husband, a daddy—but most importantly a parent and the whole notion of being the dragon-slayer, the ultimate protector of my family. Hence the guns, the meat, the carcasses, the death, fragility.
The work is pretty macho for sure, but it has a sense of humor about itself, and the paintings themselves have a lushness and mystery that draws the eye.
Marc Dennis, Biggy Kitty, 2011
Marc Dennis, Divine Love, 2011
More after the jump…