Luscious. Naughty. Saturated. Decadent.
Such is the moment we are immersed in when we stand in front of the art of Marilyn Minter. Los Angelenos can be in that moment when her show opens at the Regen Projects Gallery this Saturday night. Just like the oozing green je ne sais quoi that spills out of a mouth and gets tongued against a pane of glass in "Green Pink Caviar," this art show also leaks out of the gallery onto Sunset Blvd., just like it did in New York's Time Square, and as the video backdrop for Madonna's latest tour.
Marilyn Minter, Installation shot of Green Pink Caviar, 2009, Times Square, New York
Marilyn's images capture singular micro gestures in great detail -- a tongue swirling teasingly on pink and green colored caviar, Pamela Anderson soaked and rapturous. Detail often defines the entire character and story itself. And that story is usually a party and that party is well underway when the viewer arrives, suddenly undressed and feeling kinky. But don't be satisfied with just seeing the billboards. The paintings are awesomely large, glittering enamel extravaganzas. They envelope and probe the viewer just as the tongue probes that caviar. It's shocking to be naked at a party, isn't it? Welcome to the Marilyn Minter Show -- which runs from Oct 24th to Dec 5th at Regen Projects in Los Angeles.
Chewing Pink 2008, c print. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Marilyn Minter.
Kimberly Brooks: How do you come up with the images that comprise your work?
Marilyn Minter: I don't think I can illustrate it, as it's a conflation of a lot of events, it's what I had for breakfast that morning! My creative process is just getting into the zone and letting the moment of discovery happen. I take pictures that I don't even remember taking until I get the film back -- I'm in the zone when I take those kinds of pictures.
KB: Your images and video capture deliciously -- even psychedelically -- parts of people in their most uninhibited state. What inspired you to use the tongue and lips against glass which has become so iconic in your work.
MM: I wanted to make enamel paintings along the idea of 'painting with my tongue'. So I organized a shoot to get the reference material for the painting "Pop Rocks". I was shooting stills of models with long tongues swirling and sucking bakery products from under a pane of glass. My makeup artist shot some short videos during the shoot just to see how it would look. The low definition videos looked so good that we made plans to do a professional high definition video. This made sense to me as I have made both billboards and produced a commercial advertising a painting show in 1989. You can see a trailer of the video "Green Pink Caviar" at www.greenpinkcaviar.com.
Marilyn Minter, Strut, 2005, Enamel on metal, Image courtesy of Salon 94, New York & RIGHT: Detail of Strut
KB: How do you make those magnificent paintings? Why enamel?
MM: I invented this way of painting a long time ago, I use layers and layers of translucent enamel paint on metal to produce a luminous, almost hallucinatory finish. I soften all the hard edges with my finger tips. This is why my paintings look so different than oil and acrylic paintings, they're actually layers of enamel paint. In the detail of "Strut" above, you can see the fingerprints on the surface of the painting.
KB: What is one of your favorite works of art?
MM: I saw Charles Ray's Ink Line back in the late eighties in an art magazine, then later in his catalogue and I was lucky enough to finally get to see it in person this year at Matthew Marks Gallery. It's the best piece of art I've seen all year -- it's one of the best pieces of art ever made, and it made me glad to be an artist.
Charles Ray, Ink Line, Moving Wire, Spinning Spot, Installation View, 2009. Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Minter has been the subject of numerous museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide. She was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and featured on a series of billboards throughout New York City in conjunction with the exhibition. Her work is the subject of current solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio and The Cannery in Murcia, Spain. Minter is represented by Salon 94 in New York, Gavlak Gallery in Palm Beach, Andrehn-Schiptjenko Gallery in Spain and Regen Projects in Los Angeles. Green Pink Caviar will be gracing the digital billboards on Sunset Boulevard in LA, a public art project happening concurrently with Marilyn's first exhibition at Regen Projects, opening October 24th and running through December 5th.
Artist Marilyn Minter. Photo by Johan Olander