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Paintings on Walls

Curitorial Statement by Carolina Alamilla Paintings on Walls Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery Broward College Chris Marin is expanding the definition of painting and exploring identity through markers of skin, clothing, and lyrics. The earlier work, Lift Me Up, feels like watching a montage of historical and pop culture moments. Immersing oneself in the sea of red, you follow the swiftness of the paint strokes from the first panel to the last. Marin finds these to be defining moments within society. He even places himself at the mural's end, meaning to be a product of history and his environment. The influences of tv, music, and, more personally, who the artist is in relation to his father, mother, and neighborhood weigh heavy on him. As he presents his compiled self, Lift Me Up serves as the catalyst to the newer artworks, which still deal with the figure but are more fragmented and layered with the inclusion of fabric. The investigation of material parallels the violence and softness that come with masculinity. The silhouette of leaves and the harsh cutouts disassemble the figure to show the complexity of oneself and the acknowledgment of one's personal history. Sharing the questions and the confusion of being strong and soft. His mastery of drawing is still present in the tonal range and accuracy of facial features, yet now there is a distortion or blurring of the typical almost creating a work from its remains. There are obvious risks taken by Marin as he challenges portraiture, as each composition continually evolves to show the artist's inner dialogue. The artist is ever-evolving, with his ability to demonstrate skill and personal narrative all in one. From growing up in West Texas and later living in San Francisco, he masterfully shows the duality of experiences: culturally, politically, and personally. Lift Me Up – statement The swiftness in these mural paintings allows us to feel a rush of history and a mirroring of our present time. We find ourselves amid urgency, joy, and loss when looking at Chris Marin’s five-part painting, Lift Me Up. These works are an investigation of experience through overlayed fragmented scenes. Marin’s use of nonlinear narrative gives room for the viewer to “enter in” at any place with an opportunity for connection. Lift Me Up is an acknowledgment of our somebodiness, the somebody noted in MLK’s speech, given six months before his assassination. In this speech, “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?” he calls and encourages students to stand strong with dignity, to hold out and burn that midnight oil. A challenge to continue fighting for your dreams with vigor, or as my Latino neighbors would say, “Con gana!” We are working through the weight of our personal history, the type that can stunt any growth. Yet in the midnight hours of our toil and sweat when we question our pursuit, MLK states, “…be ready to face those doors as they open.” It is in the dark of the night when we need to get the work done. Marin’s work is an open door to society’s critical moments, the kind that can impede us or propel us forward as people. These scenes from the civil rights movement, the second wave of immigration, and pop culture are jam-packed with prominent figures yet the artist uses the color red to get away from race and to focus on the emotion. With the deep red values, he references the underpaintings found in classical artworks, the monochrome allows for a smooth wash into the next scene, as our eyes easily glide from one point to another. The artist inadvertently states his fears through the layering of scenes, yet the final view is a rose growing from concrete, referencing the poem of Tupac Shakur, “…funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it's learned to breathe fresh air.”

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