NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Apr 22, 2014) - In January and February, 101/exhibit Gallery in Los Angeles, hosted an exhibition that presented cats in the form of paintings, collages, photographs, videos and sculptures. The exhibition, aptly named "Cat Art Show," was the brainchild of art journalist and curator Susan Michals who got her inspiration from her love of cats and her Maine Coon cat, Miss Kitty Pretty Girl. Thousands of visitors flocked to the event on Santa Monica Boulevard to take a look at the feline creatures turned into art. A total of 77 contemporary artists shared their take on cats in form of more than 100 works. Amongst the exhibiting artists were Shepard Fairey, Charlotte Dumas, Mercedes Helnwein and Marc Dennis.
Marc Dennis' "A Great Big Giant World" depicts a large portrait of a kitten in a golden frame. The twist? In front of the painting stands rapper Snoop Dogg in a velvet jacket, posing very likely as a museum guard watching over the kitten. Once the viewer realizes that the hyper-realistic picture is really a painting and not a photograph, the various layers of Dennis' artwork start to unfold. The artist indeed put two "frenemies" on the same canvas: a cat and a "Dogg." And while the innocent kitten takes up the focus of the painting, the blue-and-white wallpaper in the background is inspired by the colors of Snoop's former gang, the Crips, causing a curious juxtaposition. Dennis explains the painting was "a riff on the incredible, sometimes overbearing Internet love for cats and the passionate respect and love for hip hop. I look at cats as divas, much like hip-hop culture in a sense has become." The 54 x 62 inches large painting attracted so much attention that TIME magazine even featured it in its February issue.
The principle of a painting in a painting is nothing new to Dennis. In his latest exhibition at Hasted Kraeutler Gallery in New York, he showcased a series of compositions where paintings exist in fresher contexts within paintings, causing visitors to stop and take a closer look, exploring the relation between the viewer and the painting. There seems to be no beginning or end to his paintings, an effect that he paid tribute to in the title of his show "An Artist, a Curator and a Rabbi Walk Into a Bar" which, as Dennis explains, makes a connection between a meta joke -- a joke within a joke -- and what he calls "meta art." "You could say that my paintings are pseudo-narratives with missing plots. The viewers fill in the blanks," elucidates Dennis.
Marc Dennis is an American artist known for his hyper-realistic paintings of staged and voyeuristic images of contemporary American culture. Interested in the transformative possibilities of familiar artistic tropes, Dennis explores the charged subjects of beauty, pleasure, and power. He holds an M.F.A. from The University of Texas at Austin. His paintings are represented with Hasted Kraeutler Gallery in New York City, and have been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Houston. Marc was recently featured in the December 2013 issue of Modern Painters "25 Artists To Watch." His press includes Art News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Forward, The Huffington Post, Jewish Week, The Chicago Tribune, Def Jam, and The Boston Globe, amongst others. His paintings are in numerous private and public international collections.
In addition to being an artist, Marc is also an independent Holocaust scholar on the subject of clandestine art made by prisoners inside Nazi concentration camps. He is currently working on a collaborative project titled, "Mirrors," a six channel video installation based on interviews of six Holocaust survivors conducted by Dennis and filmed by his co-producer, Liron Unreich. Utilizing installation and film and emanating from the history of portraiture "Mirrors" is an unprecedented unique artistic approach to the conventions of Holocaust discourse.
Marc Dennis website: http://www.marcdennis.com