fabian marcaccio at mam
Post #429 • December 13, 2004, 7:51 AM • 26 Comments
Thick paint - Franklin's going to like it, right? Not right.
Fabian Marcaccio has built one of his so-called paintants (an adjoining of painting and mutant) at the Miami Art Museum, constructed thirteen feet high and a hundred feet long if you add up all of its spiralling length. Globs of paint over half a foot thick have been worked onto the thing, thanks to the funhouse volumes attainable through the use of pigmented silicone. But it doesn't attain any kind of maximally painterly experience - instead it looks unworkably freakish and bombastic.
Marcaccio has applied a digitally generated collage of body parts to the canvas of the MAM paintant as a base layer for swirling, often attractive smears of hugely thick silicone. Individual areas of the painting work - he could crop this big thing into three or four decent smaller paintings - but the artist seems to have abdicated responsibility for making the entire object function from edge to edge. The terminus of the spiral fades to white, causing twelve of the hundred feet to go dead, and wide swaths of the object do little except tease the viewer into trying to figure out what body part it depicts. (Maybe you'll see something from where the sun doesn't shine if you scrutinize it enough, and care.)
I brought my students to see this to show them what ambitious work looks like, and it qualifies as ambitious by any measure. But my favorite part of the piece was the back, which the artist painted with horizontally raked, tar-black silicone. The whole piece executed that way would have achieved a Richard Serra-like funereal grandeur. Marcaccio is going towards the opposite destination, though, and as the great philosophers put it, it is a silly place.