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The Idiot

Apr 28 - May 27, 2023

Mel Arzamarski

Temporarily Out of Tact

Oil on Canvas

24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm.)

In The Idiot, Connecticut-based artist, Mel Arzamarski represents dreamlike reality and delusional imagination driven by everyday life. The real world is filtered by the artists’ conspiratorial lens through which an enigmatic feeling and dismal absurdity deepen. Based on a sheer reality, she intentionally rearranges commonplace objects with an exquisite system through which ordinary objects in an unusual context acquires new meanings. Staging a visual succession of heightened moments, her logical calculation yields a subtle association with playful metaphor and metonymy, thereby completely reversing the everyday banality. Inscribing the symptomatic anxiety on the realistic surface, her mystery-laden paintings attempt to touch upon the derelict subconsciousness with a sense of dry humor. Arzamarski elaborates “All of the boring bits are cut out, and in rapid succession, events unfold.” Though the unexpected juxtaposition of grotesque elements is seemingly reminded of the artifact of surrealist experimentations adopted by Giorgio de Chico and Max Ernst, as a keen observer of nature, Arzamarski’s bodies of work, however, start with the slippage of contemporary reality that cacophonic desires are jumbled in. As she states that “My gateway into the arts was through being raised on TV, films, video games, and comic books,” her imaginary world are manifestly derived from a peculiar fusion, ranging from Baroque, and Surrealism to Pop Art strategies.

Arzamarski utilizes mundane settings of our everyday lives to display a heavily saturated, hyperreal landscape that effortlessly blurs the boundaries between fiction and reality. This hybrid objects claim endless continuity of material life. Recurring motifs of, eggs and lit candles, which commonly symbolize fertility and the circle of life, transpire insatiable desires into visual form. In one of her paintings, a ray of light lends eggs and a tree branch a dramatic effect that has an affinity to the Caravaggisti style. On the spotlit stage, a tree branch grotesquely stretching out towards eggs makes the hedonistic sense as opposed to shadows darkening a book, a symbol of rational thought, in a tedious vertical pattern. The theatricality culminated with the stark contrast and illustrative style radiates the in-depth abyss of subconsciousness hidden in the disorder of a mundane daily life. “I am most attracted to bright colors, patterns, gradients, and strong qualities of light,” she says. She depicts moments on the edge of consciousness. But as the images that she manipulated, altered, and collaged are holding onto multi-dimensional time and space, they disrupt the definite view of the physical world and create poetic imagery. The hallucinatory landscape, a burning cigarette on the edge of a picture frame, and repetitive door frames arouse a sense of absurdity, questioning about being similarity and dissimilarity to reality. The surreal visual strategy dimly appears to be the speckle of hints consisting of its possible narrative. This constant play with reality and illusion renders an intricate, non-naturalistic scenic view. In search of a deeper reality, Arzamarski’s physical observation is eventually subsumed under ironic realism.

Born 1990 in Westerly RI, Mel Arzamarski received her BFA in Drawing, with a minor in painting, from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in 2016. She received her MFA in studio art from the University of Tulsa in 2019 and currently lives and works in New Haven, CT with her husband, daughter, and two cats.