Marco Rios

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What Is My Work About? 

My work is about failure. I want to create work so sad, the kind of sadness where you take someone’s little finger and break it in three places


Artist Statement

Nearly my entire body of artwork I refer by the title “disruptions”. Prior to the word “depression” being introduced in the English language in 1660, “disruptions” was the term used to describe melancholia and anxiety. A person reflecting an unsound mind or suffering from low spirits was said to be experiencing disruptions. My interest in psychological and emotional states serves as a starting point for my sculptural work. Literary, filmic, and art historical references influence my projects—-which tend to be hyperbolic in nature.

Starting with FANGORIA, I shifted my practice from making discrete, stand-alone sculptures to more orchestrated and site-based works. I am interested in determining precisely where, when, and how the work is experienced. FANGORIA and my most recent body of work “Melancholy (and a Baguette)” are examples of this approach.

In FANGORIA, an office in an institutional building appears as if a surge of bright red paint/blood has absorbed it. Appearing both cartoon-like and horrific, the work is satirical and unsettling at the same time. Viewers of this piece experienced the work in the hallway of the building, via a hole in the door that they could peer through. A hint of it was also visible from the outside of the building, where a drip was positioned as though the paint/blood was seeping out the window.

The exhibition “Melancholy (and a Baguette)” was designed to be seen at night and change the regular gallery hours from daytime to only night. The focal point of the exhibition was a projection of a giant parrot above the gallery, appearing to use the roof as its perch. The work is inspired by the final passages of Gustave Flaubert’s novella “A Simple Heart”. In the final page, the protagonist looks outside her window just before drawing her final breath and sees a giant green parrot looking at her through the window, then dies. Additionally, the parrot is a visual match to a stuffed parrot Flaubert had sitting on his desk while writing the novella, and which served as his muse.

In all of my work, I employ humor and slapstick tactics to address the more solemn issues of failure, death, desire, and despair.



MFA, University of California, Irvine

BFA, Otis College of Art and Design

Solo Exhibitions:

(forthcoming), CAM / Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Symmetrical Spleen, archiv f. gegenwart, Vienna, Austria
“S” is for Sincere formerly formally “F” is for Fake, Simon Preston Gallery, New York, NY

Queens Nails is Dead, Queens Nails Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Anatomy of an Absent Artist, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA
Melancholy (and a Baguette), Simon Preston Gallery, New York, NY

Despair Beyond Despair, LAX><ART, Los Angeles, CA

Plasma Pool, Simon Preston Gallery, New York, NY
Death’s Boutique, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

Mad Amour, Simon Preston Gallery, New York, NY

Disruptions, Queens Nails Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Embryonic Loop (collaboration w/ Ruben Ochoa), LAX><ART, Los Angeles, CA

Group Exhibitions:

Another Thing Coming, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA
The Fifth Wall, Armory Center of the Arts, Pasadena, CA
Spectacular Subdivision, High-desert Test Sites, Joshua Tree, CA

Synthetic Ritual, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
Suggested Reading, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Twisted Selves, California Museum of Photography, Riverside CA
Procedural, MacArthur B Arthur, Oakland, CA

Let Them Eat LACMA, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA

Thomas Solomon Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Interiority Complex, Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles, CA
Drama of the Gifted Child, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA
Video Journeys, Cottage Home, Los Angeles, CA
This is Killing Me, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
Mixed Signals. Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports, touring exhibition curated by ICI,
Cranbrook Art Museum,
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of
Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland.

California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
LA25, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Los Angeles, CA
The Whole World Is Watching, Glendale College, Glendale, CA
Et in Arcadia Ego, Estación Tijuana, Tijuana, Mexico
November Again, Harris Lieberman, New York, NY
Phantom Sightings, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get, What You Don’t See (Is Better Yet), Five Thirty Three, Los Angeles, CA
Nina in Position, Artists Space, New York, NY

LA 25, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flomm LLP, Los Angeles, CA
The Pyramid Show, Monte Vista Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Q&A Royale, Queens Nails Annex, San Francisco, CA
Real, Imagined, Sixteen:One Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

November, Harris Lieberman, curated by Jeffrey Uslip, New York, NY


Awards and Residencies:

The Durfee Foundation, ARC (Artists’ Resource for Completion) Grant

James Irvine Foundation, Visions from the New California

California Community Foundation Fellowship (CCF)

Chancellor’s Fellowship, University of California, Irvine

Nominee, Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in Sculpture

Otis Scholarship, Otis College of Art Design

Cal Grant