Marin Majic's "Ends and Odds" @ Nino Mier Project
Alongside solo shows by Antwan Horfee and Andrea Joyce Heimer, Nino Mier Gallery is currently showing a solo presentation by Marin Majic at their project space in LA. Perfectly fitting the compact, small venue, Ends and Odds comprises 30ish mostly small-scale works which are conveying Brooklyn-based artist's personal experiences and reflections through intricately rendered visuals imbued with muted uncertainty.
"Most paintings have an autobiographical core," Majic told Juxtapoz about the connecting theme between the works in his debut with the gallery. "There is no predetermined arch for this group of works but prior work inspires new work as an ongoing conversation." Such continuing effect of the works' narrative comes to light with a harmonious display in which the small-scale snapshots are creating a linear storyline that skips from lush rainforest-like scenes over domestic settings, to the portrayal of inconspicuous subjects. And while the images might appear entirely fabricated, surreal, or even fantastical, they are emotional byproducts or visual allegories for the artist's personal experiences ranging from dealing with the year of lockdown to the birth of his first child. With intricately rendered shadowing foliage arguably representing the complex, invincible, and relentless life circumstances, the German-born artist developed an artistic process to help himself confront and come to terms with his own emotions and thoughts. By replacing the unperceivable and nontangible threats and delights with tangible and evocative characters, animals, settings, activities, and phenomenons, Majic is actually depicting the emotions of a given moment rather than its physical qualities. So, as we're examining the image of a person examining a portrait painting, an open fire illuminating a dark forest, a submerged figure floating in a dark pool, or kids gathered around the hole in the ground, we're actually looking at the artist's depictions of intimacy, isolation, shelter, self-destruction, or the balance of power dynamics.
And in order to construct such a profound atmosphere, the artist is utilizing a mixed media technique that involves working with colored pencil, oils, marble dust, and gesso on linen. "Working with color pencil somehow bridged the gap between drawing and painting for me thus creating a more direct path from idea to painting," Majic told us about the unusual tool of choice for this body of work. His labor-intense technique is forming exceptionally rich surfaces in which his intense mark-making is capable of capturing everything from the shine of horse's coat (Get told, 2020), the warmth of campfire (Two Palms and a Fire, 2021), softness of the fur coat (Please Don't Trust Me, 2020), to the inconsistency of water surface (Call Me Anytime, 2021, The Great Cure, 2020, etc). With different elements of imagery constantly reoccurring in different pieces, the artist constructs an engaging and intriguing dynamic that is equally effective with each individual work and with a presentation at large. By providing the viewer a brief, almost voyeuristic glimpse at otherwise privy undertakings, Majic creates an ambiance of preciousness which is accentuated with the sheer size of the works. "There is an immediacy working on the small size and using color pencil, a direct gratification in contrast to working on a large scale," he states about choosing to work with formats that allow for such a legible presentation. —Sasha Bogojev