Xmas is a Four-Letter Word
28 August - 5 October 2013
Jordan Marani makes darkly humourous work involving personal narratives, cynical observations of the human condition and an exploration of loss and the past. Through painting and sculpture employing bright colour, humour and word play, he explores the funny side of the dark side.
Xmas is a Four-Letter Word brings together a cacophonous selection of works created in the last 20 years with a number of recent series of works. The new works include Colourful Language, a group of geometric text paintings that blend lowbrow culture with high art and draw from crass conversations about the art world, football, politics and so on. C.H.R.I.S.T. is a series of portraits of world leaders and dictators (Churchill/ Hitler/ Roosevelt/ Il Duce/ Stalin/ Tojo with an extra Tito for good measure). The work was inspired by Gore Vidal’s irreverent observation in Live from Golgotha that Christ is an acronym for WW2 leaders. For Marani the portraits are a garish grouping of the taboos of politics and religion aired at family Christmas celebrations around the world and of the influence these men have held over personal histories: that they are a hovering presence in many families. Brothers is a group of small watercolour portraits of the artist and his four brothers, created in 2011 in response to the death of a brother. Cartoon characters remembered from childhood act as stand-ins, in a re-animation through reference to animation. Mister Ed, Donald Duck, Lancelot Link, Deadly Ernest, and the bulldog from Looney Tunes’ Chow Hound become surrogates for family members.
Older works reference the banality of suburban life, booze, texts and motifs from growing up, the art world and family history. They form a dark and subjective contemporary art interpretation of the artist’s family and life.
From 2008-2011 Jordan was co-founder and co-director of Hell Gallery. His work has been exhibited at Tate Modern, the National Gallery of Victoria, Static Gallery Liverpool, Switchback Gallery, 200 Gertrude Street, Neon Parc, Utopian Slumps, Ryan Renshaw, Ray Hughes Gallery and at ARIs including Death Be Kind, Inflight, Seventh and West Space.