This oil pastel drawing depicts a central figure outfitted in sunglasses—perhaps a stand-in for the artist—walking toward an unknown location. One figure peers over a low balcony looking inquisitively beyond him, while another figure in the background is captured mid-movement, surrounded by shrubbery and the bright white sun overhead. This piece is among the last works executed by Irving Marcus before his death this past March; it epitomizes the artist’s characteristic approach to high-keyed color and inventive compositions. According to art historian Francesca Wilmott, the artist has a "singular ability to hold formalism and postmodern irreverence in tension." His images are products of our media-saturated world—a world increasingly beleaguered by distortions between reality and fiction.
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In his figurative paintings and drawings, Irving Marcus often depicts subjects drawn directly from newspaper headlines—a practice he began in the early 1960s. He dramatically combines, flips and rearranges source images into rigorous formal compositions that are deeply incompatible with their origins. Marcus’ wildly delirious work combines formalism with irreverence in ecstatic and kaleidoscopic hues.