JoAnne Artman – Art and the Language of Desire

The emotions that envelop us while looking at art often channel that inner “id, the pure, emotional, instinctual drive that relishes the beautiful, the cherished, the prized. Artist Robert Mars captures and encapsulates this instinctual desire in his work by exploring the notions around the idea of the adored ‘objet d’art’. Mars’ works fuse fashion with contemporary pop culture, infusing both with a sharp yet nuanced edge.

The idea of the ‘objet d’art’ or the even more glamorous ‘objet de vertu’ has been around for a couple of centuries. These French terms literally translate to “art object” or “object of virtue” but are most commonly used in the English language to describe objects of exquisite artisanship and beauty that do not fall into the primary collectible categories.

Artist Robert Mars exhumes and illuminates our thriving obsession with the contemporary equivalents of such ‘objets’. Mars appropriates the icons of luxury brands into delicately beautiful visual collages that merge typography with a study of color and pattern. In Roll the Bass Chanel, Mars utilizes the timeless, visually and symbolically rich image of the Chanel No 5 perfume bottle. The resulting image is a beautifully evocative homage to this icon of fashion, as well as the long history it represents. In Sweet Sweet, Mars once again turns to Chanel, using the fashion house’s instantly recognizable double c pattern. Superimposed on a human skull the effect is at once darkly enthralling and shockingly casual.  Playing with the language of our own cultural signs of fixation and desire, Mars crafts addictively beautiful images rich in both meaning as well as history.