Alone with Materials

Alone with Materials Vol. 7 MARC LEPSON, Brooklyn, New York, August 2020

Welcome to the studio of Marc Lepson, a New York-based painter, photographer and printmaker well known for his installations and public performances in the aftermath of 9/11.

Marc guides you through his latest paintings to examine the underpinnings of violence in Western Society. Enjoy learning his process and inspirations from painted portraiture, street photography, and scientific documentation.

MARC LEPSON (American, b. 1975)

Marc Lepson is a painter, photographer, and printmaker. He has been part of the downtown art scene in New York City since the early 1990’s, beginning with his work as artist and Master Printer at the Lower East Side Printshop. Lepson’s work first came to national attention as part of the activist group, ad hoc artists, staging public performances (Our Grief is not a Cry for War) in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in Lower Manhattan. In the decade that followed, his strident political prints and evocative installations were shown at Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, NY and showcased at The Brooklyn Museum. He has exhibited internationally in Vienna, Berlin, Stockholm, and Reykjavic.

#bestcarcass, 2020, oil on canvas, 60 x 78 in. © Marc Lepson

Lepson’s current practice centers on large oil paintings that isolate and abstract gestures of violence and domination. He comments:

"My work uses the language of painted portraiture, street photography, and scientific documentation to illuminate the violent underpinnings of contemporary western society. Through isolation and abstraction, painted subjects are treated as icons and become allegorical. This distance creates a space for contemplation; a push toward empathy, dialogue, thought, and action. My work puts the body, both human and animal, in the position of subject; pointing to common existential experiences of bare life. These paintings examine small moments; stripping them down, shaking them loose from their context and the visual language that has historically defined them.

Embrace, 2020, oil on canvas, 58 x 78 in. © Marc Lepson

By revealing the gestures of domination, I go to the heart of what the philosopher Georgio Agamben describes as Homo Sacer—examining the bodies of those condemned; deemed outside the law, outside protection, deprived of rights and functions. This examination of violence committed with impunity and institutional sanction is among the most essential work of our era. It extends beyond the state’s terror tactics of police brutality against marginalized peoples, and into the destruction of our entire living environment."

Visitation, 2020, oil and graphite on canvas, 108 x 84 in.

Marc Lepson has received a Pollock-Krasner Grant and his work has appeared in Art on Paper, Art in America, and the Fifth Estate. He currently teaches Drawing and Imaging at Parsons School of Design, The New School and is co-curator of the online exhibition series Fermata 3x3 at Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery.