Mark Stillwell, Super Defense Force (detail). Courtesy of Front Room Gallery.
The Front Room welcomes Mark Stillwell back for “Super Defense Force,” his first solo exhibition with the gallery. Stillwell, known for his room-sized installations of urban landscapes under figurative and literal siege, converts the gallery into an overwhelming cityscape installation overrun by gargantuan monsters. Stillwell uses painted and reclaimed packaging, byproducts of the over-consuming society he portrays, in this scene of terror. Crowds of paper cut-out citizens run screaming from the devastation and hostile creatures that are overtaking the city.
The installation portrays a metaphorical Coney Island, complete with landmark buildings and all the trappings of amusement parks as the main point of attack. Stillwell’s signature style, elaborate painted cardboard, papier-machÃfÂ© and plastic architecture intermingled with spare unadulterated elements of packaging is an Arte Povera delight than enables viewers to suspend their disbelief and slip completely into this cinematographic tableaux. The Coney Island-like setting in “The Super Defense Force” is used to contrast apocalyptic anxieties, militarism, and the proliferation of luxury condos against a backdrop of carnival escapism.
Stillwell has been shown at the Brooklyn Museum, in the renowned “Working in Brooklyn” show and is the recipient of the prestigious NYFA award among others. We are proud to welcome him back to the Front Room Gallery.