Arts

Step Into the Technicolor Jungle of Mariell Guzman’s Newest Exhibition, “Synthetic Aesthetic”

The Dallas Artist Creates a New, Immersive Installation in Fort Worth's Art South Box

BY // 09.24.20

Dallas painter, muralist, and illustrator Mariell Guzman has brought to life colorful and distinct murals all over Dallas-Fort Worth. From the butterflies beneath the Katy Trail on Bowen Street (in collaboration with local artist Mariel Pohlman) to the massive Grand Berry Theater Rainbow Wall and #ForFortWorth mural in Cowtown, Guzman has been executing great work since she graduated from The University of Texas at Austin’s Fine Arts program just a few years ago.

Starting tomorrow, Friday, September 25, Guzman’s latest installation “Synthetic Aesthetic” will go live and be open to the public 24 hours a day for two months. A technicolor jungle experience, the project is a collaboration between Guzman and photographer Tyler Germaine.

Located at the Art South Box at 125 S. Main Street in Fort Worth and curated by Art Tooth, the immersive installation is different from anything Guzman has done. Light and sound will be involved in a way that works to transport audiences and will be unique for each visit.

Before the installation opens, we caught up with Mariell Guzman about her upcoming exhibit and collaboration with Tyler Germaine (who are both part of the art collective Denim Disco).

What’s your background and how did you first got started in art?

Mariell Guzman: I grew up in Mexico until the age of 10 and have been living in Texas since. I’ve been doing art ever since I can remember, my mom and both my siblings are artists so I grew up in a really creative household.

 

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What inspired “Synthetic Aesthetic”?

Guzman: Nature inspires both of our artist practices greatly, but even we are guilty of objectifying. Nature is often seen as something beautiful but isn’t treated with respect. Humans love the aesthetic of nature but still tend to destroy it for their own benefit rather than learning to coexist with it. We wanted to create an installation that would point out this objectification.

 

What was the biggest challenge in creating this installation?

Guzman: In my past installations, I’ve always allowed the public to interact with all the elements, however the current pandemic has changed the way the public can experience art and we had to take this into account to create a safe exhibition. The biggest challenge has been to figure out how to create an immersive experience for the viewer even though they can’t enter the space where the installation exists.

 

Have you collaborated with Tyler Germaine before and what is it like working together with your different mediums?

Guzman: We’ve collaborated quite a few times! We’ve created some photo/video content for Dickies and Skagen. With my experience in painting/sculpture, knowledge of color and materials, and his experience in film, photography, lighting, and sound, we’re able to create experiences we wouldn’t have been able to before.

 

What do you hope viewers will take away from the experience? 

Guzman: Humans are in an abusive relationship with nature. We love nature, we paint it, we take pictures of it, we travel hundreds of miles just to witness and experience it, we have plants in our homes, on our streets, in our offices. But we totally and utterly neglect it. We vote for people who allow corporations to push out massive amounts of carbon, we allow for pollution, we allow for destruction of wildlife and that has left us in a whole lot of danger. That’s what we’re trying to point out, our love for nature doesn’t go deep enough, we aren’t actively and consciously thinking about the effects our decisions have on our home. This affects every one of us.

For this installation, we kinda wanted to reflect that depth, or absence of. We made it fun and bright, that’s what nature is, it’s something we truly enjoy looking at. But underneath it all is plastic, foam, and a lot of materials that aren’t biodegradable (most of what we’re using is recycled or repurposed, and will be when we’re done, as a way of trying to counteract their harm). You can look at it like how in nature, many animals and plants are brightly colored to warn predators of their poisonous nature; these sculptures are equally as harmful to nature. We just wanted to create a physical representation of the fallacy that humans hold when dealing with the thing that keeps us alive.

A sneak peek of the installation:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFf8ztGHZme/

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