To my good friend Mark Jenkins, DC's own Tapedude, whose solo show opens in New York's Stricola Contemporary today with a solo show titled The Golden Ass.
From the press release:
Documentary photographs of characters, such as The Golden Ass, are extracted from their usual street environment, then montaged with found and altered landscapes. Jenkins sources his background environments from Google, which are then layered to create landscape ‘mashups’. In re-contextualizing his characters and their environments, Jenkins creates 2 dimensional versions of the absurdist visions dramatized in his street work. By sampling and remixing his own work in this way, Jenkins moves from street illusionist to story teller. At the same time, he extends the themes first seen in his 2006 Embed Series, merging his packing tape world and other hybridized figures into a physical-mythological composite.
The Golden Ass, a figure from Lucius Apuleius’ ancient Roman novel of the same name, is one of Jenkins’ reoccurring characters. The book relates the adventures of Lucius, a virile young man whose obsession with magic gets him transformed into an ass. Originally Jenkins’ Golden Ass statue appeared on a street in Barcelona, populated by tourists and living Statues, or people who pretend to be statues in hopes of earning a few euros. The irony of having a real statue competing for tips with false statues becomes completely absurd as pedestrians gather to ogle the Ass (The Golden Ass, Embed Series video, 2009).
This character now appears in Jenkins’ collages, silently watching as giant women perform felatio on a rainbow (Under the Rainblow, 2009). In the ancient novel and in Jenkins’ work, the Ass, like the Artist, stands as witness and commentator to humanities strange machinations.
Jenkins has shown on the streets and in the galleries of Tokyo, London, Sao Paulo, Los Angeles and his native city, Washington DC. His works have been featured in the book Hidden Track: How Visual Culture Is Going Places, Juxtapoz Magazine, and many other publications.