Mars at the Mark Gallery
March 26th - May 15th, 2009
(some measure three by five feet) collages by Robert Mars constitute
one half of the aptly-named “America: Lost and Found”
exhibition at the Mark Gallery in Englewood, NJ. These bold and
impressive works reveal Mr. Mars to be an archeologist as well as
an artist. With obvious affection and care the artist has sought
out iconic relics of the golden age of the American highway and
captured them on film. He then converts his photographs to black
and white image transfers and applies them over collaged backgrounds
made of paint, painted paper, and fragments from mid-20th Century
magazines and newspapers.
of these new collages are brighter and more complex than those of
some of the artist’s earlier works. Mars chooses his fragments
carefully and one can find, in this exhibition, textual references
to Route 66, the Beatles, native Americans, and assorted fifties
and sixties memorabilia. Mars often appropriates phrases which are
themselves commercially-inspired appropriations of earlier concepts.
The inclusion of the magazine and newspaper clippings adds to the
archeological texture of these collages.
which are applied as transfers are often automobiles, service stations,
or archetypal advertising signage from motels, diners, and billboards.
Mars usually tends to allow the transferred images to dominate his
works but in some of the pieces in this exhibition the transfers
share center-stage with the collaged elements, exponentially increasing
Mars’ visual vocabulary.
is evidenced by his impressive CV which includes exhibitions in
Los Angeles, Aspen, Boston, Atlanta, New York, Tokyo, Munich, London,
Melbourne, and Vancouver. He is clearly a collagist to watch.
shares the walls of the Mark Gallery with painter Jeff Schaller.
It is a thoughtful pairing which prompts examination of both artists’
styles since Mr. Schaller also mines the 20th Century for his subject