China Marks

February 15 - March 17, 2018

China Marks
Ripe for the Picking, 2017
Fabric, lace, thread, epoxy glue, glass beads,
fusible adhesive on a contemporary tapestry
copy of Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May,
by John William Waterhouse
55 x 36 inches

 

China Marks
Tomorrow the World, 2017
Fabric, thread, screen-printing Ink, brass trim,
plastic ring, cast plastic daemon’s head, coated
wire, lace, Jade glue, fusible adhesive on a
contemporary tapestry copy of a Cezanne still-life
of a basket on a table, also integrating part of a
tapestry copy of Gaudi’s La Familia
33.5 x 35 inches    

China Marks
The Stolen Child, 2017
Book: Ten pages including three double-spreads,
with an illustrated cover, a hidden title page,
endpapers and flyleaf. Fabric, thread, lace,
screen-printing ink, stamped metal, enameled
brass, Jade glue, fake pearls, button, coated
wire, fusible adhesive
23 x 20 inches (closed)    

China Marks
Hell Has Its Charms, 2017
Fabric, thread, screen printing ink, lace,
residual pencil, brass trim on a contemporary
tapestry copy of Guido Reni’s St. Michael
the Archangel Trampling Satan
41 x 31 inches

 

China Marks
An Army of Lovers, 2017
Fabric, thread lace, screen-printing ink,
residual latex paint, Jade glue,
fusible adhesive
20.5 x 25 inches

 

China Marks
The Kids from Down the Block, 2017
Fabric, thread, lace, Screen-printing ink,
fusible adhesive
13 x 11 inches

 

China Marks
First Offenders, 2017
Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink,
fusible adhesive
14 x 14.5 inches

 

China Marks
The Surrogate, 2017
Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink,
fusible adhesive
15.5 x 17.5 inches

 

China Marks
Here Among Us, 2016
Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink, button,
Jade glue, fusible adhesive
16 x 13.5 inches

 

China Marks
The Aliens, 2017
Fabric, thread, lace, fusible adhesive on a
contemporary tapestry copy of da Vinci’s
Lady with an Ermine and parts of Gaudi’s La Familia
26 x 18.75 inches

 

China Marks
The Blame Game, 2017
Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink,
fusible adhesive
10 x 17 inches

 

China Marks
Winging It, 2016
Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink,
fusible adhesive
12 x 12.25 inches

 

China Marks
Words From My Body, 2017
Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink,
fusible adhesive
11.5 x 9 inches

 

China Marks

Above and Below, or How Bad Things Happen to Good People, 2016

Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink, plastic pearls,

lace, tea-dyed fabric, fusible adhesive on a

contemporary tapestry copy of Raphael’s

Cowper Madonna

42 x 35.5 inches

 

China Marks
The Gift, 2017
Fabric, thread, lace, residual Jade glue,
Screen-printing ink, fusible adhesive
13 x 12 inches.

 

China Marks
Catastrophe!, 2016
Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink,
fusible adhesive
12 x 15.5 inches

 

China Marks
The Patsy, 2017
Fabric, thread, Jade glue, fusible adhesive
11.5 x 8.75 inches

 

China Marks
A Singular Occasion, 2017
Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink, brass trim,
residual latex paint, fusible adhesive on a
contemporary tapestry copy of
The Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck
26.5 x 19 inches

 

China Marks
On Fantasy Island, 2017
Fabric, thread,fusible adhesive
15.75 x 11 inches

 

China Marks
Flower Gurl, 2017
Fabric, thread, lace, screen-printing ink,
Jade Glue, fusible adhesive
16,75 x 12.75 inches.

 

China Marks
Words From My Mother, 2017
Fabric, thread, fusible adhesive
9.5 x 13.75 inches

 

China Marks
And She Cast a Spell to Bind Him to Her, 2017
Fabric, thread, lace, screen-printing ink,
fusible adhesive on a contemporary tapestry
copy of Vermeer’s Lace Maker.
26.5 x 18.25 inches    

 

China Marks
Pocket Opera, 2016
Fabric, thread, screen-printing ink,
button, fusible adhesive
20 x 25.75 inches

 

China Marks
Fun, 2016
Fabric, thread, fusible adhesive
14.75 x 12.75 inches.

Press Release

China Marks
February 15 - March 17, 2018

China Marks creates beautifully chaotic works that are inspiring, new hybrids of embroidery, drawing, and collage. Her dense process-driven creations can initially be described as drawing with thread into fabric fragments, with which she constructs twisted tales. Over time she builds up her creations by working and re-working thread upon thread, with fabric collage that is applied, removed, and reshaped. Combined with addition of digitally embroidered sketches and text, the end result is a wonderous landscape filled with warped characters, dark humor and dense narratives.

The artist’s prolific output can be broken down into four main component series, and the level of complexity builds from one to the next. The simplest are the Broadsides Series. These are almost exclusively dedicated to witty digitally embroidered texts- the thoughts and declarations that fill her mind as she works.  They often pack a political, or melancholy, punch, and are usually accented by a singular, minimal illustration or collaged fabric image.

China Marks introduces slightly more elaborate scenarios with her Short Subject Series. These tend to be composed on white backgrounds. She starts with a hand-drawn sketch that is scanned, run through CAD software, and then plotted out with a digital embroidery machine. Over this initial layer she will constantly rework the forms and collage elements to reveal characters as well as digitally embroidered dialogue. In these comical mini-worlds, the figures question their own motives, stand up for their principles and defy convention.

In the Altered Paintings Series, Marks starts with a commercial tapestry reproduction of famous, and some not-so-famous, 14th-20th Century paintings. These can range from kitschy, lesser-Baroque landscapes to more recognizable works by da Vinci, Vermeer or Cezanne. The scenes in the tapestries have already been diluted and translated through a number of processes before they roll off the factory’s digital loom. However, their pixelated interpretations are fertile ground for the artist to work, as she transforms them into totally new, densely active dramatic stories that almost completely obliterate the original image. China Marks is not so much addressing Art History as using it as a material with which to build, much the same way a sculptor might look at clay. These are the largest scale of the wall-mounted series she produces. In them, old gods learn new tricks, creatures abandon the higher realms, and wild children take flight in search of their enemies. To paraphrase one of the artwork titles: Hell does indeed have its charms.

This process of transformation is taken to its logical conclusion in China Mark’s series of artist books. These soft-form books are large, heavily worked stages where she has room to relate longer adventures through time. On view here is her newest tome: The Stolen Child. This is a story of fairies, kidnapping, political intrigue and unbreakable family bonds. It has the physical presence of a rare, old manuscript, but also the colorful vibrancy of an animated film. As always, much is hidden in the patterns and stitches and contorted designs.

The worlds that China Marks creates are fascinating and expansive. They are an impressive amalgam of imagination, technology, innovation, history, politics, identity and boundless energy. Their complexity and attention to detail draw us in and command us to dedicate the time to fully grasp and enjoy them.