Marcel Vidal makes paintings and sculptures. Quietly disarming and unsettling us with an ominous beauty, Vidal’s paintings are marked by their controlled brushwork, layering oil on linen with delicacy and precision. They are refined and restrained, incarnating brightly lit fragments of photographs or digital images: unidentified figures seem caught by flashbulbs, and hold their arms in defensive barriers; glossy foliage catches the light before retreating into darkness; distinguished hands are frozen mid-clap. Vidal’s minimal compositions are severely cropped to reveal only a sliver of their subject, using ambiguity to frustrate interpretation, all while inviting our curiosity.
Vidal’s sculptures, meanwhile, encompass contrasting and combative textures and materials: furs, feathers or deer hooves mixed with assembled wood, concrete or industrial metal hardware. Chains, spikes and pest-prevention devices are rigged up for attack or defence, echoing the hostility of urban space and inner-city infrastructure. The sculptures often house small, self-contained watercolour paintings that rub up against the authority of their environments: ribbons of sausages, fragments of sculptures, an irreverent asshole. In Vidal’s most recent work, sculptural assemblages have expanded outwards into more immersive environments, entering a dialogue with the history, architecture and symbolism of the spaces they inhabit. Gallery walls have been suffused with matte black spray paint, or floors softened with artificial grass, creating unexpected and surprising spatial shifts. Visually arresting, these sculptural environments create a playful tension between the organic and the constructed, the threatening and fetishistic, the vital and the macabre.
Marcel Vidal lives and works in Dublin.