July 11, 2019
Melodramatic and unhinged though they may at first appear, Mark Greenwold’s paintings frequently depict sexual and violent acts without actually being erotic or horrifying. Teasing the boundary between attraction and repulsion, his works are a litmus test of what you value in art. But if you allow yourself to be distracted by the grotesquery on display in this exhibition, And Now What?!, you might miss an important new direction his work has taken.
June 26, 2019
The first painting that I saw by Mark Greenwold was, it seemed, a kind of cozy domestic scene. Some people stand in a beautiful room before a lit fireplace, dressed as family might be while hanging around over the holidays. Greenwold himself is front and center, a self-portrait in a zipped-up cardigan and pants. Next to him, his elderly father wears a mismatched flannel robe and pajamas. Greenwold’s mother stands behind them, and a young man on the left holds his head at an alluring angle, and behind him is another guy in a sweater. But there are some things happening that maybe shouldn’t be. Greenwold’s arm passes through his father’s shoulder and comes out the front. The other man wears a black velvet dress—and hovering over his outstretched hand is a tiny ballerina in first position.
June 25, 2019
Does the shame of being human ever cease? Not for painter Mark Greenwold, whose latest exhibition of paintings and drawings at Garth Greenan bring together forty-four years of disturbing, perversely detailed, fever dream pictures that feature sex, old age, self-portraiture, the discomfort of friends, and several lifetimes of embarrassing analysand revelations the septuagenarian artist depicts with a brush the size of a needle.
June 23, 2019
There are artists who aim to shock the viewer and those who attack decorum. While the former may gain immediate attention, and generate buzz in the media, the latter might have more staying power, and for good reason. The art world believes in decorum — the display of appropriately polite behavior – which is especially apparent when you think about what gets put up in public institutions these days. You may behave or misbehave, but you must do it in an acceptable manner. You must know how to walk up to the line but not cross it. Propriety must be maintained at all costs. Titillation and smugness are fine but the truly indecorous and the blurring of boundaries are another matter.