Bystanders find themselves contained in Mann’s works, cornered by the claustrophobia of late capitalism. Mann’s detailed textures, lush colors, and well-considered arrangements offer beauty and visual satisfaction but leave their viewers trapped. Mondrian Lattice places the viewer directly in a corner, an ideal angle to admire the garish green and purple color combination of the detailed wallpaper, accented by a single misalignment. Shadows suggest the sun coming through the titular lattice work, but whatever exit or escape it might offer remains out of view.
When natural environments appear in Mann’s work, they’re rendered inaccessible, barely visible through partially obscured window panes or cut off from the viewer by elaborate scaffolding. In Crooked Studs, grids of wooden studs frame the view onto a lush treetop scene underneath hazy clouds. Despite the visibility of the trees, they’re inaccessible, unreachable from the viewers’ height. A smart home device hangs on the blatantly unfinished wall, transformed into pure status symbol by the impossibility of climate control.
Displaying his interest in pictorial mechanics, narrative, and irony, Mann's work questions the role that fine art has in a tech enabled, hyper-capitalist moment in which art and artistic movements are taken up – regardless of their original intention – in order to achieve the retail goals of institutions, real estate development, and luxury lifestyle marketing.