New York

Fidel Marquez

56, Bleecker Gallery

Fidel Marquez is an exotic, even weirdly Gauginesque artist, but his large canvases and small drawings are more like tropical takes on the personal than vice versa. His paintings may be abstract but it doesn’t take long to dig up the source of his imagery: namely, that jungle seen in X-rays of the human body and through biologists’ microscopes. Marquez isolates and enlarges biological shapes, giving them the festive coloration and sprawl of a botanical wonderland. Sometimes he adds a layer of beads to accentuate the party atmosphere, but more often the additions are mock-sloppy—drips, gunks, and curds of almost fluorescent acrylic, suggesting decay, rot, and destruction. That these marks seem to imply a kind of physical illness is clearest in works such as Love Boom, 1988, in which a very phallic purple-and-white spire deflates against a background of suspiciously spermy-looking blue

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