Chicago Art Review

Mark Mulroney @ ebersmoore by Steve Ruiz
January 13, 2010, 1:20 am
Filed under: Chicago, Reviews

Mark Mulroney’s WEATHERBEE’S REVENGE is full of paintings that are dirty and gross and funny, operating on an adolescent paradigm where humor and violence and sexual fantasy are everything and interchangeable. Mulroney’s working process of painting his own depraved bodies under cut-out heads from Archie comics is simple enough, but the ridiculous narratives, awful jokes fit together just right with Mulroney’s clean style and fearless imagination.

Mark Mulroney, WEATHERBEE'S REVENGE @ ebersmoore

Mark Mulroney, WEATHERBEE'S REVENGE @ ebersmoore

In addition to the paintings, Mulroney included four painted wooden sculptures, three of which were interactive in some way. You could rearrange a chest of breasts and mysterious bumps in Archie Spare Boob, below, lever Archie and Betty into reverse-cowgirl coitus, or pull a string to give Archie a clumsy erection.

Mark Mulroney, Archie Spare Boob

Mark Mulroney, Archie Spare Boob

Having never actually read the Archie comics, the characters’ debasement isn’t as rending as when I stumbled onto a fan-drawn Simpsons orgy. As any unfortunate internet wanderer knows, there are massive communities dedicated to producing cartoon porn of every shape and variety and franchise crossover, and its only a matter of time before “Archie porn” shows up in this blog’s traffic statistics. However, its obvious that Mulroney’s motivations are far from any deviantart weirdo’s, giving retrospective form to a kind of innocent perversion of pop imagery.

Mark Mulroney, Archie Collage

Mark Mulroney, Archie Collage

Mark Mulroney, Archie Poll

Mark Mulroney, Archie Poll

Mulroney creates plenty of narrative variation among the pieces, some abstract and bizarre, and others shamefully clever. Every piece looks like it was floated together easily, with the artist’s illustrative handling clean and confident whether rendering a disemboweled Archie or a weeping dick in detail, showing a level of artifice and care which was, I guess, appreciated.

I give it a:


Mark Mulroney‘s WEATHERBEE’S REVENGE opened January 8th and runs through February 6th, 2010 @ ebersmoore, 213 n morgan, #3C.

(special thanks to Anni Holm for the photos)


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