November 9 – December 7
1520 Queen St. W. Toronto Canada M6R 1A4 Tel. 416-821-3060
Hours: Wed – Sat 12– 6 pm
Mark Crofton Bell completed his undergraduate studies at OCAD University in 1988 and received his Masters of Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art in London, UK. He has shown extensively across Canada in artist run centres and public galleries including a solo exhibition at The Art Gallery of Ontario. Bell is one of the founding members of the artist collective Painting Disorders. He lives and works in Toronto.
Essay by: Heather White
Mark Crofton Bell’s latest canvases tell of filling up and emptying out. One scene captures the mess after a store has been ransacked by looters; another scans a kitchen overstuffed with hoarding. The paintings are representational, and their vignettes are representative: each has real referents – photos that Bell finds, and modifies – and the capacity to encapsulate a whole story.
Rendered in muted pastel hues, the paintings evoke the ethereal documentation of courtroom sketches, though they’re larger, and better worked: no rushed scribbles, but thoughtful texture. They feel evidentiary. The images are vessels for information, and even the sparse ones brim, subtly. What looks like an empty corner might hold a ghost; an unmade bed is similarly rife with absence.
Of course, the paintings are inconclusive. The full ones censor their details: no numbers are legible on the knobs of the kitchen stove, nor are any labels, on any loot. Missiles lain across a second bed gleam with conspicuous blankness against patterned textiles. The only exterior shot, meanwhile, builds a field of debris out of brushstrokes, a kind of formalist template for the piling up of stuff in space.
The works waver like this between saturation and void, description and definition, between specific and generic, foreign and familiar. Every scene is itself – and also less than itself, standing for more than itself. “Magical contagion” describes the belief that objects store meaning: the spirit of a moment or a place permanently infects what was there. This justifies a hoarder’s compulsion; explains the draw of relics; moves travel souvenirs. The conviction underscores the pain of theft: things aren’t just things, but memories and, sometimes, livelihood. No wonder such magic fascinates the painter, who lives through his medium, conducting meaning through material.
Alex Bierk: Pitfalls and Withdrawals, solo exhibition
January 16 – February 15, 2014
Michael Davidson: The Key in the Lock, solo exhibition
February 20 — March 14, 2014
18 Oct 2010, Posted by General Hardware in Featuring, 2 Comments.
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