Mariel Capanna paintings on display at Adams and Ollman gallery in Portland

Inspired by moving images, Mariel Capanna (b. 1988, Philadelphia, PA; lives and works in Salt Lake City, UT) explores the subtleties of place and perception in her paintings. Working from films, documentaries, slideshows of found photos, and home videos, Capanna employs a collagist’s approach to composition and image-making.

Capanna is debuting a new series of paintings at Adams and Ollman gallery in Portland with her show “Overlook,” on view now through March 13. Coinciding with the show, Capanna also has an ongoing fresco project on view at Good Weather gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

With quick gestures and marks that toggle between representation and abstraction, Capanna captures fleeting images as they move off-screen or into the past. The accumulation of marks record the evolution of an image or sequence of vantage points with harmonizing color and gesture; the image unnameable, but the painting field littered with their traces.  

In Capanna’s work, the perception of distance is a key theme: the distance between one geographic place and another, between present and past, between first and last painted mark, between real and mediated experience. The flatness of her marks float against an illusionistic depth; the flatness a reference to the past several months when so much has been experienced through a screen, the depth a reference to a memory of the sky in Utah where these works were painted. These competing gestures—a depth of field and marks that live on the surface— balance in exquisite tension.

In the new series of oil paintings on view in Overlook, the viewer is situated in the foreground where one looks past the immediate surroundings to find a background dense with detail and information. Our fixed perspective provides a simultaneous awareness of both speed and stillness, near and far, past and present, and experiences across place and time.

Capanna (lives and works in Salt Lake City, UT) received a BFA and Certificate of Fine Art from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and an MFA from Yale University. She has been an artist in residence at the Guapamacátaro Art and Ecology Residency in Michoacan, Mexico; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; and at the Tacony Library and Arts Building (LAB) in Philadelphia. Capanna has also been the recipient of the Robert Schoelkopf Memorial Traveling Fellowship and an Independence Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship.

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