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Still playing with fire

a solo exhibition by marcus xavier chormicle

Image 1 Our Scar On The Land.JPG

Still Playing With Fire is a multidisciplinary, lens based exhibition from Las Cruces artist, Marcus Xavier Chormicle. The project addresses legacies of  image making in relation to cycles of trauma, violence, forgiveness and self determination. By photographing his own family, abstracting their images through, patterning, beading, collaging, and video, in collaboration with various other artists, Marcus asserts his own family members into the cultural and historical cannons of New Mexico and draws lines between narratives of violence perpetrated by and against his family. From the preservation of the Fort Selden site as a symbol genocide against Indigenous people, to the death of his grandfather, an enrolled Agua Caliente Cahuilla man, following his shooting while in police custody, through the murder of his uncle, and the overdose of his younger cousin. The act of image making serves to functionally highlight and perpetuate this violence by cementing the moments in time as art work and as artifacts of an ongoing war of attrition. 

Still Playing With Fire also addresses legacies of image making by incorporating archival family photographs which provide context for Marcus’ own practice, while providing opportunities of self representation for the subjects of his work. 

The show aims to indict the viewers, subject and artists as participants in violent systems that maintain the status quo in New Mexico, some as victims and perpetrators of abuse and self fulfilling prophecies, others as beneficiaries of centuries of slaughter, theft and exploitation of the original inhabitants of the region. 

Through photography Marcus clings to fading moments of both joy and pain. Some of the people in the images have since died, some have been forever changed. Celebration and good days still lay ahead but a deep mourning over what has passed is prominent in the photographs. Forever frozen in time the images serve as a memorial for both living and dead relatives. The repetition of subjects, intergenerational resemblance, the similarity of circumstances between events taking place over time,  and the spiral motifs reinforce the idea that we are all still playing with fire. 


Still Playing With Fire
Marcus Xavier Chormicle
Opening Reception: August 5, 4-10pm On View: August 5 - October 1

CAV Gallery
126 S Main St. Las Cruces, NM 88001

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