Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins have been making large-format sculpture, mixed media, installation and electronic art since 2000. Intervening upon institutional and public spaces, their work often contextualizes visual art squarely within everyday life while simultaneously referring to and reassessing twentieth century art history: its utopias, polemics, and formal one-upmanship. Concurrently, their work discusses contemporary museum modalities within the context of ideological stances levelled by globalized market forces. In doing so, Marman and Borins expose the tensions arising between the historicity, formalism and politicization of the artwork to produce new meanings from them.
Marman and Borins express these concepts not only through art historical references, but also through popular design strategies and industrial-based materials. Their works’ aesthetics and style often conflates mass communications with references that deconstruct the history of ideological movements in twentieth century art. Marman and Borins also pursue a strategy of formal mutability, in which they define form by subject matter rather than by self-expression. This mutability illustrates the problem the artists have with contemporary visual art and meaning-making: the art world cannot keep up with the pace of the world, and the contemporary artist is then a minor grammarian in a sea of visual culture. In turn, the artists posit strategies of visual resistance.They use paradox and authorial de-centering to mirror a homogeneous political landscape in an attempt to resist the ubiquity that overshadows all critique of it. They achieve this through such strategies as pairing styles of post-minimalism and electronic art, and by means of high-art formalism and abstraction, transliterated into popular aesthetics. Marman and Borins often express these ideas with ironical, cynical humour and attendant ambiguity. It is, indeed, a formidable challenge to perform all of this deftly within a coherent chain of paradoxical stances, but it is this very challenge that drives the artists to push their inquiries further.