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My recent work consists of an interrogation of history painting both formally and narratively.  While being profoundly inspired by art of the past, I am skeptical of the privilege that these works endow to their subjects.  To demonstrate this, I have been partially dismantling the formal structures of traditional painting to find a new use of narrative figuration, one which emphasizes systems over individuals and questions the viability of a single coherent story.  Specifically, I am interested in the dissociative mindset that occurs when privileged groups are confronted with information that conflicts with their worldview.  My work seeks to depict the invisibility of certain facts to those who have no investment in them: to describe both the dissociated individual and the realities that are ignored.  As such they describe a narrative system of interconnected forces that have impact upon each other even if they are disregarded by individuals within the system.  

We live in a world of isolated subcultures, each of which is sometimes invested in the illegitimacy and invisibility of those outside their borders.  I attempt to suggest this isolation through monochrome color zones and disparate perspective systems in my paintings; these zones represent parallel universes that are disconnected for the participants within them.  As large-scale figure paintings that have resonance with historical approaches to narrative, these works attempt to counter the hero story of such paintings and replace it with a non-hierarchical structure that suggests interconnectedness rather than dominance.  The figures in these paintings have obscured identities and are disengaged from the other events within the frame.  They thus participate in a larger cultural system without being aware of it.  Their shadowed and obliterated faces indicate both obliviousness and anonymity within a societal matrix beyond their understanding.  

Perin Mahler is an educator and fine artist.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Hartford and an MFA in Painting from Queens College, CUNY in New York City.  Over a more than twenty-five-year career in education, he has taught at several colleges and universities including The University of Cincinnati, The Art Academy of Cincinnati, Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.  More recently he has Chaired the MFA program in painting and drawing at Laguna College of Art and Design, where he is Chair Emeritus.  He is currently teaching advanced and graduate Figure Painting courses at California State University, Long Beach.

His work is represented in several museum collections as well as prominent private collections.  He has had numerous group and one-person exhibitions around the country and has been featured in national and international publications. His current body of work is a series of large single and multi-figure paintings that depict the intersection of the personal and political as it relates to social and environmental justice issues. 

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