Mari Eastman’s paintings, drawings and sculptures willfully engage the fictions of the world around us. Where that world is consumerist, her art is consumptive. Where that world is filled with fantasy, her art produces images of ponies and kittens. The hiccup in Eastman’s work is her suggestion that we absorb these fictions in their entirety. Caught in an intoxicating bind between mass-media representation and the stutters of its construction, Eastman’s art takes us down a logical path that easily segues from images of pets and models to images of the appartniks of money and power and the destructions of war. Thrilling and amorous, earnest and conflicted, her works are rooted in traditional subject matter and technique turned upside-down with additions in glitter, sewing, jewelry, and cut canvas.
Eastman's work encourages critical dialogue about the value we place on objects – be they functional or decorative, or both. In the painting Untitled (2011), Eastman depicts a topographic portrait of a woman’s face, replete with manipulated, cut and pinned canvas, glitter, and ink drawing over subtle color washes – the effect is one of multiplicity and simplicity combined. In the bronze, clay and stone sculptures on view, Eastman deftly balances their object-ness with image – their function as candlesticks with their inherent decorative qualities – to deliver a fresh perspective on the debate.
Eastman received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum (Berkeley, CA); Hammer Museum (Los Angeles); Orange County Museum of Art (Newport Beach, CA); Contemporary Arts Forum (Santa Barbara, CA); Honolulu Academy of Art (Honolulu, HI); and the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles). She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Emily Tsingou Gallery (London); Karyn Lovegrove Gallery (Los Angeles); Sies + Höke (Dusseldorf, Germany); Sprüth and Magers Projekte (Munich, Germany); and Galleri Nicolai Wallner (Copenhagen, Denmark).