Karla Marchesi

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Desire Path, the latest exhibition by Karla Marchesi, reflects upon a dissonance between subjective hedonic desire and modalities of pleasure in contemporary social life. The exhibition strides this rocky terrain taking the ancient Greek goddess of mirth, Baubo, as a guide, tragicomically exploring the pitfalls of modern dating and relationships.

Known for her liberated sexuality and bawdy humour, the Baubo empowers female agency, the ability of the vagina to critique power, identity and relationships. Marchesi employs the ‘impossible bouquet’ as a genre through which to theatrically critique the complexity of human experience and deconstruct ideological systems which envelope this contemporaneity.

Within a playground of Rococo excess, arrangements of succulents and flora colourfully brim with innuendo. Situated atop pastoral landscapes and set inside modern heterotopic interiors, the exhibition stages anthropomorphised cacti and flora as vessels for psycho-sexual projection.

Symbolic of violence, danger, and self-protective vulnerability, these great asinine masses of succulents drive Marchesi’s post-modern collage using autobiographical references, ancient myth, folklore, art history, sci-fi landscapes and cyber aesthetics, in a spirited Baroque-punk upending of Romanticism.

Mall Soft Love Hotel
2022 Oil on Linen 180 x 150cm
Work Credit: 
Pleasure Garden
2022 Oil on Linen 180 x 150cm
Work Credit: 
Karla Marchesi

Brisbane-born, Berlin-based artist Karla Marchesi employs the still life genre as a means through which to reflect upon  socio-cultural anxieties of our age. Her paintings theatrically critique what it means to be human at this present moment under conditions of late capitalism and anthropocentrism, interweaving an allegoric deconstruction of ideological systems with autobiography, pathos and humour.

Marchesi has Bachelor of Fine Art (2004) and Honours in Fine Art (2007) degrees from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, where she received the University Medal for academic excellence and the Honours Thesis Prize. Marchesi received the Philip Bacon Galleries Prize for Excellence in Drawing in 2003, enabling her to study for a semester at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, US.

Marchesi has held solo exhibitions in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, and internationally in Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany. In 2012 she undertook a studio residency at Atelierhaus Mengerzeile, Berlin that preceded her first international solo exhibition at Kunsthalle M3, Berlin. Marchesi is a recipient of the 1st Prize in the Redland Art Awards (2010), the Wilson Visual Arts Award (2012) and an Australia Council for the Arts Early Career New Work Grant (2013). Her work is included in a number of public collections including the Museum of Brisbane, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland Art Museum, the Australian Catholic University and several regional galleries.

Marchesi  is represented by Jan Manton Gallery, Brisbane and Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne.

United States
United States
United States



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