This past weekend I attended the opening for Marissa Long’s 1st solo exhibition entitled Offerings. The show was at a local DC venue, the Civilian Art Projects, run by director and founder Jayme McLellan and located a block from the Mt. Vernon Square metro stop. The venue was located in a gutted loft right above a trendy little bike shop.
The photos were hung in a dark, intimate room, and each offering was struck by a strong beam of light. As I walked around I admired each photo, observing the grotesque but beautiful images comprised of household items, organic matter, and food piled together to create a festering cornucopia.
Long appropriates the genre of still life photography, incorporating unconventional objects with a renaissance formality in her color saturated images. By doing so she creates a surreal experience similar to Christian Rex Van Minnen’s “Neo-Grotesque” works. Marissa questions the nature of the sacred and human nature by employing banal objects arranged in the classic exemplar of an idol. As the viewer questions the meanings of the offerings, it is unclear who they were meant for, whether they were organized carefully by hand or not, as they appear to have been created organically. The piles, which seem on the verge of decay, begin to form an identity at the same time disengaging with the viewer as they rise above being ‘just objects’.