Marc Blake

14/11/2018 - 08/12/2018

Marc Blake

Marc Blake

2018

installation image



Marc Blake

"These new paintings offer an environment based on our shared physical, cultural and virtual landscapes. They reveal figures in glowing spaces, set in blurred locations and a timeless existence. They are a unique telling of my own history and artistic journey, presented in terms of our combined, global experience.
 
Infused with areas of detailed figuration and the flatness and all-over composition of Japanese Edo Period screen painting and printmaking, the works also reflect Modernist colour field painting in their thin, layered washes of vibrant pigment. My paintings are based on these wide expanses of stained colour, which follow natural patterns in the timber grain as kind of template, suggesting both depth and flatness, as well as geographical features.
 
The colour palette of glowing pinks, oranges, yellows and turquoise blues swirls into organic background and foreground forms. The detailed, softly focussed renderings of figures, trees and animals sit on the surface, floating, yet grounded. A misty, subdued fluorescent glow over the works like a fading memory.

Fragments of previous layers, images, modifications and changes of direction are still partly visible in each work, showing an improvised process that organically finds its way through working, towards conclusion. The beauty, character and imperfections of the materials are gradually revealed during this time and the final texture of paint on the surface is extremely thin, almost papery, mostly soaked down into the bare, abraded and often deeply sanded support. The corners of the panels are dented from rigorous handling and the scuffed edges reveal the remaining specks of colour from previous iterations on a single panel. The works become as much objects as they are images.

In Here and There (Number 1) and Here and There (Number 2), two large panels seem to show alternate versions, slightly off mirror images of the same place. Both feature the minimalist, geometric shape of a basketball hoop and backboard rising in the formless distance like an iconic, saintly figure. The sparse, still, contemplative and reflective atmosphere in Number 1, is only interrupted by the gentle paddle of a canoe and graceful flapping of a heron’s wings in Number 2. A lone, vaguely familiar figure sits proudly, yet casually on horseback in the centre of The Message’s swirling sunset, grassland and river. Another solitary, also somewhat familiar figure carrying golf clubs, walks across a manicured, wistfully nostalgic landscape of blossoms and clouds in Untitled (BHO). The hazy light of a saturated spring, or summer afternoon glow spreads warmly across every work.
 
These paintings offer a world that is both familiar and shared by us all. Since 2005 I have solely used other people’s shared online photographs as source material, selected from the billions of search engine possibilities. With these as the starting point, I can then construct and illustrate my own ideas. Once selected and then further edited and manipulated digitally, these hybrid images are then finally rendered back into the analogue, world of drawing and painting. The result is a fusion, a personal, yet universal language created from our collective memory."

MB, 2018.

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