For some it is the beginning of the end, but for Mark Starling it has always been the beginning. Starling grew up in a household where the family business was, and still is, running a funeral home. His family’s profession is, in large part, to oversee the presentation of those who pass from this life. Suitably, Mark’s process of taking that which has outlived its usefulness and transforming it into something, which questions presentation in the public's eye only seems fitting. The paintings that adorn the walls are made from discarded window blinds. These blinds belonged to an established artist Starling worked for and were taken from his studio after hanging in the windows for decades in the East Village. Over the years they collected dust, dirt, nicotine, and grime, inheriting the life of those who passed through the space. Additionally, when placed in Mark’s studio, the lower sections unfurled onto the ground causing more build up as he walked over them. Working over and through portions of the surface of these perforated shades, Mark has created a series of portraits. Anonymous faces emerge through the blinds, surfacing from an unknown past. A window blind’s function is to help us control what we see; acting as memorials, these paintings allow us to see what is pushing through the other side.
Alexandra Kostakis sculptural work is simultaneously lighthearted and gravely serious. This binary outlook on life is more easily understood knowing that Alex grew up in Greece where remnants of past civilizations are so readily apparent. Examining structures, both institutional and societal, she employs forces outside of her control, namely gravity, as she creates these voluptuous forms by physically suspending plaster as she waits for the material to set. There is precariousness to her work, yet beauty in the delicacy. The simplicity of the materials, plaster and wood, forces the viewer to question the balance. The forms resemble human figures, and yet are strangely foreign.
The two appear to be examining natural phenomenon and life cycles on both a macro and micro scale; the interpersonal and societal.
Born in Athens, Greece, Alexandra graduated from Central Saint Martins in London with a BA in Performance Design & Practice, and more recently completed her MFA in Sculpture at Pratt. Participating in X-Art Fair in Miami, her work has been shown at the Hollows Art Space in Brooklyn, Mulherin Gallery in New York, Firework Gallery in Brooklyn, and Pierogi Gallery.
Mark Starling was born in Augusta, Georgia in 1987. He completed his BFA at the University of Georgia and subsequently graduated from Yale University’s MFA program. This past year, Mark participated in a two-person show at Junior Projects in New York and at the Anahita At Gallery in Tehran, Iran. He has also exhibited at Storefront Ten Eyck, Brooklyn, NY, the Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA, Tribeca Cinemas, New York, NY and Artspace, New Haven, CT.