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March 7, 2019 – April 21, 2019
How often are you able to gaze into eternity? To lie face up in your go-to-meetin’ finery, walls snug around us, eyes up to an endless horizon of cakey burial soil. If funerals are for the living, caskets are a reminder that life continues after death, that passage to the afterlife must be made in style. Mark Starling gives us a world that is inside out. Growing up above his family’s funeral home in Harlem, Georgia, morality was more realistic; the finality of life is full of beauty and ugliness, excess and austerity. Starling’s sculptures are made of modified casket lids. As opposed to sinking them deep in the ground, he floats the works at eye level, bringing us face-to-face with our anxieties. His caskets have bulbous growths of wax with Bondo dripping from the bottom. Echoing the craftsmanship of the steel caskets themselves, these ethereal “swells” are about making and eroding, about preservation and personality, about marking who we once were before our spirits were lifted. Build now or forever rest in peace. As the great Mississippi artist James ‘Son Ford’ Thomas once put it: “We all end up in the clay.”
Mark Starling (b. 1987, Harlem, GA) lives and works between Atlanta, GA. He received his BFA from University of Georgia, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Athens, GA in 2011 and received his MFA from Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT in 2014. His recent solo shows included Fixed at Atlanta Contemporary and Finish at 315 Gallery. His recent two person shows include In Time at 315 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, 2016; Cheryl Bentley/Mark Starling at Junior Projects, New York, NY, 2015. His recent group shows include Beholder’s Share at 315 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, 2016; NUTUREart at Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, 2015; The Landscape Changes 30 Times at Anahita Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2015; Forced Collaboration II at Artspace, New Haven, CT, 2014.