- Gilded symmetry 2016 oil on canvas 173.2 x 113cm
- Tension meter 2016 oil on canvas 70.2 x 65.1cm
- Vanity Fair 2016 oil on canvas 160.2 x 110.2cm
Karla Marchesi holds Bachelor of Fine Art (2004) and Honours in Fine Art (2007) degrees from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, where she received the University Medal for academic excellence and the Honours Thesis Prize. Marchesi received the Philip Bacon Galleries Prize for Excellence in Drawing in 2003, enabling her to study for a semester at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, US. Marchesi has held solo exhibitions in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Berlin, Singapore and Luxembourg. In 2012 she undertook a studio residency at Atelierhaus Mengerzeile, Berlin that preceded her first international solo exhibition at Kunsthalle M3, Berlin. She has subsequently participated in a number of international group exhibitions. Marchesi is a recipient of the 1st Prize in the Redland Art Awards (2010), the Wilson Visual Arts Award (2012) and an Australia Council for the Arts Early Career New Work Grant (2013). Her work is included in a number of public collections including The University of Queensland Art Museum, Museum of Brisbane and several regional galleries in Australia.
Her recent practice can be described as a reflection on the quasi-religious and gender identity of the artist in the post Internet age, so to a decoding of modernity, filtered through the medium of history painting. By broaching themes of death and temporality; cultural constructs, contrivances and historical myopia, Marchesi’s work seeks to create a space positing a landscape which draws together traditions of 17th century Vanitas painting and Modernism. These painted mise-en-scènes utilise a tragic-comic sensibility. Adopting a hyperopic vision of human experience, these works reflect on the theatricality of our historical moment and address anxieties afflicting contemporary living.
Provoked by the Vanitas dictum, Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas ("Vanity of vanities, all is vanity), paintings from this series entitled After Nature (2017) feature superimposed gymnasium apparatus, chains and metal poles over representations of 17th century Dutch still lifes. These impossible bouquets; a culturally constructed arrangement wherein the flora depicted cannot bloom simultaneously, allude to bourgeoning middle-class wealth and nascent market capitalism. In this body of work such bouquets act as a stand in for the theatricality and constructedness of cultural suppositions. The inorganic punctuations formally bisecting the background vegetation allude to the absurdity of contemporary socio-cultural dictates with an irreverent tragicomic humour.