Friday, March 8, 2019

Marlon Kroll, Abstraction Infused with Pareidolia

Marlon Kroll
Blooming Planes, 2019
mixed media on gessoed muslin, mounted on panel
15" x 12"















Marlon Kroll
Thirsty Things
Clint Roenisch, Toronto
Jan. 31 - Mar. 16, 2019

Pareidolia, or the tendency to find specific, meaningful images in ambiguous visual patterns, often anthropomorphic imagery, has joined the ranks of contemporary art cliché or at best shorthand, along with potted office plants, piles of some type of detritus, and neon signs (otherwise known as Nauman's land). One does not have to make many gallery trips to see eyes and other human features poking out of abstractions. 

I suspect pareidolia's popularity stems from its potential to act as an easy way to update the zombie formalism of the aughts by infusing it with ambiguous anthropomorphic allusions, especially eyes, which form a perfect art market storm c. 2019 by combining surrealism and figurative painting.  Such is the case with Marlon Kroll's paintings in Thirsty Things. Kroll, a Canadian-German artist and musician based in Montreal, creates constructions, which like Blooming Planes, 2019, are  notable for their jarring juxtaposition of disparate material. But they do fall into pareidolia trope trap. Note the eyeglasses and tongue shapes in Blooming Planes. Besides, leaning paintings against walls has become a little tiresome, has it not?