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Indepth Arts News:

"Video Art of Bostonian Denise Marika"
1999-11-19 until 0000-00-00
North Adams, MA, USA United States of America

A work by Boston-based artist Denise Marika will open at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams, Mass. The piece is entitled Turn Away and will be installed in the Devereux Gallery next to the three works by Bruce Nauman currently on exhibit.

Marika's work combines video and sculpture by confining or embedding a moving image in a physical structure. Working with her own body, the artist records activities or personal rituals exploring issues of power, control and vulnerability. Her video art concentrates on a nude figure or figures repeatedly performing a task. The physical forms into which the images are embedded or projected structure these actions. The conceptual coherence of this approach - sculptures determining filmed actions - owes much to the legacy of Bruce Nauman (whose 1970 Green Light Corridor, through which visitors must walk, and 1971 Yellow Triangle Room are currently on exhibit at MASS MoCA and will share a gallery with Marika's video.)

Richard Kalina wrote of the work:

The piece [Turn Away, 1991] is a complex and evocative one, and comparisons can be drawn with Nauman's work. Although dealing with similar ideas about ritualized confinement and repression, Marika shows little of Nauman's unpredictability and barely contained hysteria. Her work is quieter, more elegant, yet undiminished in its affective power. She has managed to go beyond the literary, the overtly psychological, to create something perhaps more difficult - a sculptural amalgam which loses nothing of its emotional immediacy. -- Art in America, Feb. 1991

Two sculptural elements make up Turn Away: a large (8' x 8' x 20') plywood box with a long copper drawer at the far end that contains three video monitors facing the viewer. Museum visitors are drawn into the plywood box by the monitors showing a nude figure lying in the drawer as if in a coffin. She lies on her side facing the visitors, opens her eyes slightly, then very quickly turns away, repeating this action again and again. Triply confined (within both the plywood box, the copper drawer, and the video space of the TV monitors) the female figure confines herself even further by turning away from the viewer.

Denise Marika began her career as a sculptor at Pomona College in California, and incorporated video in her work while in graduate school at UCLA. In 1987 she moved to Massachusetts where she has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, the New England Foundation for the Arts, a Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe College and most recently a Visible Republic Grant for a public art project in Roxbury, to be completed in the fall of 2000.

In 1994 Marika had a solo exhibition accompanied by a catalogue at the a href=http://www.boston.com/gardner/>Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In 1996, her video installation, More Weight, was shown at the < ahref=http://www.moma.org>Museum of Modern Art in New York. In Boston, her work has been shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Fogg Art Museum, the Davis Museum, and as part of the collections of the Rose Art Museum. In 1999, her work has been exhibited in the CyberArts Festival in Boston, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Connecticut and the Bellevue Art Museum in Washington and is currently on display at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA.

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