By JAMES WRIGHT, December, 2022
With his new series of recto/verso work artist Marc Carson has given up. He’s abandoned trying to create new imagery, as is simply asking us to look at what’s already there.
Oftentimes we see this with much older artists. The desperate search for something to say subsides with age and an artist will relax into a confident rhythm - this is usually where things start to get interesting in an artist’s output. The point where striving subsides and making new work begins to resemble playful discovery.
In his Recto/Verso series Carson is shining a backlight through vintage magazine pages making them translucent and causing the imagery on both sides of the page to be visible at once. The resulting compositions are random and often chaotic, but then Carson shapes them into visually compelling arrangements; either by blacking out part of the page or subtly adding visual elements that tie the images together. The end result feels somewhat effortless, but at the same time reveals a sharp eye and provides biting social commentary. At times the work feels humorous, but I worry that we the viewers may be the butt of the joke?
In each image Carson adds only as little or as much as is absolutely necessary to get to point across, and in the end what I was most impressed by is his confidence to stop trying so hard and let the work speak for itself.
I guess we should all give it up for giving up. WM
James Leo Wright Jr is the best artist in New York City and the only art critic that still matters.view all articles from this author