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Marco Rios: Plasma Pool

Simon Preston Gallery
301 Broome Street, 212-431-1105
East Village / Lower East Side
March 6 - April 25, 2010
Reception: Saturday, March 6, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Adopting traits from a variety of late 19th Century Gothic fiction, such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1866), H.G Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), the exhibition comprises of a series of sculptures, photographs and drawings. By combining elements of romance and horror, Rios suggests various modes of physical and emotional transformation, while continuing to mine an intimate personal psychology.

The title of the show, Plasma Pool, directly references Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986), itself a modern day story of metamorphosis and mutation. Titles such as Neurochemical Squirt and Affectionate Cranial Scoop, suggest tender, if unsettling, gestures towards intimacy, while the objects themselves, a human-scale nutcracker and spoon-shaped drill-bit, reveal the hyperbolic brutality required to perform their unique tasks. Tip Sips (700ml at a time), a glass device shaped to wrap around the necks of a couple in embrace, implies the ingesting of tears expelled and caught in delicate eyeglasses. Orificial Juice Exchange, a large-scale laboratory-inspired glass sculpture, foregoes this modesty and restraint, with attachments for a total bodily fluid transfusion.

By assuming literary, filmic and art historical guises, Rios is able to employ humor and slapstick in his exploration of a mind tormented by plurality. The walls of the gallery are painted to resemble a theatrical stage or setting. Two black and white photographs depict the artist firstly with a rock tethered to his head, and then with his head entirely replaced by a nut. In a third fleeting snapshot, while caught in an act of depravity, his face appears as a grotesque. Two ‘dry-erase’ drawings attempt to illustrate and work through this condition in a futile attempt at diagnosis and understanding.

Marco Rios graduated in 2006 from University of California, Irvine. He has since participated in the 2008 California Biennial, and was included in Phantom Sightings, a traveling group exhibition at LACMA; Mixed Signals, a traveling exhibition organized by ICI; and This is Killing Me, a group exhibition at MASS MoCA. Death’s Boutique, a forthcoming commission with Kara Tanaka, will open at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco this month. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
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