Marc Trujillo: American Purgatory
American Purgatory

August 25 - October 7, 2017

The paintings of Marc Trujillo portray quotidian scenes: fast food restaurants, big box store aisles, the long terminal corridors of airports, and so on. The scenes are remarkably unremarkable. In their ubiquitous nature, the paintings present an anti-place: scenes that refer not to a specific place, but to uncannily similar tableaus that unfold everyday in communities across America. While Trujillo models his paintings after specific locations, usually in the Los Angeles area, his scenes appear strikingly similar to viewers’ own relationships with local commerce. His paintings critique a hallmark of modern capitalism: one that aims to recreate identical commercial experiences across the country.

Trujillo’s work is also influenced by his interest in Flemish landscape painting. The expansive skies in his works reflect the panoramic vista in Johannes Vermeer’s View of Delft, 1661 or the more imaginative Landscape with the Flight into Egypt, c. 1650, by Aelbert Cuyp. Like Vermeer’s canvas, which offers a contemporaneous view of a growing city of Delft, Trujillo’s paintings explore our own ever-changing—and increasingly homogenous—landscape.

With the title American Purgatory, Trujillo’s exhibition presents a body of work in which each painting locates a place that’s not a place. As Charleston, SC is in the midst of a period of high growth, many national chains are replacing local stores that have existed for decades. The exhibition will resonate with local audiences, asking them to consider the price, if any, that comes with restructuring a local economy to one with a national scope. The exhibition is curated by Bryan Granger, Manager of Exhibitions and Programs at the Halsey Institute.

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About Marc Trujillo

Marc Trujillo is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico and currently resides in Los Angeles.  Trujillo primarily paints the purgatory of American urban and suburban landscapes such as gas stations, shopping malls, big chain stores, and restaurants. He received his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and his M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art, where he received the Ely Harwood Schless Memorial Fund Prize as well as the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Trust Fellowship. In 2001, Trujillo received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, and in 2008 he received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  He has had many shows on both coasts in the U.S. and currently shows with Hirschl + Adler Modern in New York and Chris Winfield Gallery in Carmel. His work is in numerous public and private collections including the Long Beach Museum and the New Britain Museum of Art.

Marc Trujillo
American Purgatory

Community Partners 2017