Marlene McCarty

Metro Pictures

Marlene McCarty’s 30 large text-paintings employ four distinct fonts that subtly transform familiar typographies: the flame lettering of heavy metal and tattoos, the fat cartoonish characters of stock and funny cars, the geometrics of ads and bumper stickers, and the cut outs of agit prop and punk. Her stylized letters form vaguely obscene and often aggressive messages that reflect a multiplicity of voices, and are made by heat transfer onto raw canvas. “I iron them on, you know, woman’s work,” McCarty says. And on one level, these works, with their references to Barnett Newman’s zips and other modes of post-painterly abstraction are attempts to iron out the phallocentrism that lies just below the surface heroics of “pure painting.”

Throughout her career, McCarty has been distinguished by her choice of sources and the nature of the language she re-presents. Eschewing both the authoritative

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