MAD Magazine meets Versailles in Mark Dean Veca’s loud yet regal salon installation. Veca bridges the opulence of 18th-century Toile de Jouy wallpaper and the renegade attitude of 20th-century cartoons, comics, and street art. This fall, he will embellish the architecture of the Davies Gallery in the historic wing of the San Jose Museum of Art with an expansive mural. Veca integrates visceral and undulating shapes into elaborate patterns akin to the ornamental wall treatments used in upper-class homes of the 18th century. Inspired by the intricacies of toile, Veca lays out a convoluted pattern of his own: he painstakingly renders larger-than-life biomorphic motifs with the exaggerated black outlines typical of comics and graphic novels.
Veca grew up in Livermore, California, and the influence of the Bay Area’s underground comix scene is evident in his psychedelic murals. He frames his intense, spectacular palette of fiery reds and oranges with an engulfing, white bubble shape that suggests (as in comic vocabulary) that the work is just a thought or a colorful hallucination. Along with his whitewashed lighting and bean-bag seating, Veca evokes an anti-gravitational and almost sci-fi space. Visitors are invited to lounge and find all sorts of uncanny motifs embedded into the faux-historic wallpaper pattern. Ultimately, Veca—with his gestural, expressionistic mark-making and cartoonish vocabulary— delivers the imagery of graffiti via classic, virtuoso drawing ability.
Artist Profile: Mark Dean Veca