The work of Marc D’Estout engages subconscious surrealist imagery, social and cultural memes, and obscure formal connections. Formed in succinct visual dialogues, his minimalist sculptures and drawings often subtly reveal a dark humor or uncanny associations, addressing lurking fears, personal (mis)communication, social nuance, or pop humor.

D’Estout has a deep connection with materials and process, predominantly the challenging skills of hand shaping and fabricating sheet metal forms, which are then finished with carefully crafted surfaces. His style of metalsmithing or metal-shaping falls somewhere between the conventions of the fine art metalsmith and those of artisans who hand-form custom car bodies. His life-long love of automobiles is integral to his visual language and his studio practice, although there is a world of difference in objective and approach in his work. The application of D’Estout’s vision through these highly disciplined craft-based processes is unique in the context of contemporary art.

NUMU 12.18.15

Kenneth Baker | 2.27.15 | San Francisco Chronicle

Sculpture more often than painting strikes us as an intrusion into the artless everyday world. In paired bodies of work by New Yorker Jay Kelly and Bay Area artist Marc D’Estout at Jack Fischer Gallery, this intrusive quality blooms into a formal poetics.

Kelly has mastered the peculiar quality that Gaston Bachelard in “The Poetics of Space” called “intimate immensity.” …

D’Estout also makes things that can induce a nervous shiver, though less often by means of quavering scale than by a strangeness of artistic vision. Some appear vaguely, unpleasantly functional, such as the hoodlike “Myopic Isolator” and “A Small Dark Menace,” which suggests a wall sconce inexplicably melting at room temperature.
His nickel-plated “Muse” looks like Mickey Mouse Club headgear turned into a jewel-bright helmet, marshaling thoughts of Disney promotions as an assault on American cultural sanity and of children as a target population.

Other D’Estouts, particularly “The Secret” and “Abused Muse”, make an almost unseemly visceral address to the spectator.

The disquieting forms Kelly’s and D’Estout’s works take can cause a hurried viewer to overlook how well-made they are, but they repay in the closest scrutiny.