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"Only Tenants Reside: Chris Mars" in Arts

Something Empty (2009) by Chris Mars
Something Empty (2009) by Chris Mars
Kathleen Vanesian

Haunting, tragic and often traumatic is the artwork of Chris Mars, on display at Mesa Contemporary Arts until August 1.

Mars' work is heavily influenced by his experiences with mental illness. As a young child, he spent a lot of time visiting his older brother, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, in a mental institution.

Kathleen Vanesian on "Only Tenants Reside: Chris Mars"

The classically rendered, somewhat fractured, narrative pieces in this show of Mars' most recent work are the simultaneously repellent and seductive devices the artist deftly puts into service to grapple with the psychological ramifications of his brother's lifelong condition.

Peopled with monstrous, often morphing, creatures doing impossible things in nightmarish landscapes, Mars' pointedly titled paintings reflect the artist's dedication to championing human beings, such as his brother, who are labeled and pigeonholed as damaged, disordered, and downright evil -- perverse pronouncements that are light-years from the truth and cause suffering to those so branded and their loved ones.... full story


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