Vanitas-He and Vanitas-She, 2008 - Nathan Mabry

About the Work

About Vanitas-He and Vanitas-She

Nathan Mabry's sculptures Vanitas-He/Vanitas-She are examples of the masking motif that flows throughout his practice. This set consists of a pair of bronze skulls wearing cast bronze costume animal noses. Vanitas-He is masked with a tusked elephant nose ...

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Nathan Mabry's sculptures Vanitas-He/Vanitas-She are examples of the masking motif that flows throughout his practice. This set consists of a pair of bronze skulls wearing cast bronze costume animal noses. Vanitas-He is masked with a tusked elephant nose, while Vanitas-She is masked with a camel nose. The conflation of the skulls—sober renderings that could be part of an exhibit at a natural history museum—and the masks—silly popular culture references—effectively illustrates common art historical themes concerning the inevitability of death and the futility of pleasure, but with a twinge of seductive humor.

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About the Artist

About Nathan Mabry

Nathan Mabry's work transforms the known into the new and the unexpected, asserting artistic agency while at the same time engaging with art history ...Read More
Nathan Mabry's work transforms the known into the new and the unexpected, asserting artistic agency while at the same time engaging with art history and normative objects, such as readymades. A Duchampian trajectory is balanced by an art-making urge that springs from other early Modernists such as Brancusi, Lipchitz, and Picasso, whose visual avarice led them to a range of "exotic" cultural material in an effort to create their own visual language. While Mabry's borrowings from the Early Modernists and from Native American, Pre-Columbian, and African art are quite direct, our thinking about the complexity of their interactions with their source material usually is not. Working with both threads in mind is interesting to Mabry, who is ultimately focused on the integrity of his own art objects. Mabry's fascination with how objects function in the public mind and his desire to address the totality of culture, both high and low, fuels an urge to make relevant, holistic objects that engage with the inherent complexities of the world in which we live. In addition, the very way that we experience or approach Mabry's pieces—whether in an art historical context or through other modes of consumption—becomes an interesting topic that allows for humor and surprise, complexity and contemplation.

The concept of masking flows throughout Mabry's practice. For his Process Art series, he purchased bronze sculptures online and masked them with bronze casts of found masks and mascot heads. The process of masking is neither straightforwardly performative nor interventionist; Mabry simultaneously transforms the original artwork and creates a new sculpture with the mask. The sculptures Mabry has chosen to mask fall roughly into three groups: classic figurative sculpture in collections, art historical copies, and vernacular scenes. They come from a number of sources in American culture—including sports team mascot heads and Halloween costumes—adding to the complexity and humor of his work.

His work has been reviewed in Art + Auction, Art in America, Frieze, Modern Painters, Sculpture Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times.
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Vanitas-He and Vanitas-She, 2008

Nathan Mabry

Sculpture
Size Price
5.00" x 5.00" x 10.50" $9,000
Edition of 69

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Offered in partnership with:

Cherry and Martin

Description

Two bronze and wood sculptures.

Authentication

Includes a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the artist.

Dimensions

Two skull sculptures: Vanitas-He measures 5" x 5" x 10.5" and Vanitas-She measures 5" x 5" x9".

Shipping

Ships in 20 to 30 business days.
This work is final sale and not eligible for return.

Additional Information

Arrives in separate boxes measuring 12.5" x 7.75" and 6.5".

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Nathan Mabry
Vanitas-He and Vanitas-She

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