Old school genre finds sassy aplomb and fresh perspective.
An exciting new artist is making a tidal wave splash with a fabulous debut, absolutely popping the top off Riverside’s art scene. Following a six month sabbatical, whose odyssey drove him throughout the Western United States, Mark Nelson has returned to his Murrieta hideaway, awakening an auspicious inner journey. Fresh inspiration spawns across canvass on a daily basis in forceful, fearless homage to the traditional heresy of abstract art.
Within Exhibit 1 – Pirates, Nelson reveals that tenuous veil between life and death through Goyaesque brutality, clawing for life through bold, earnest strokes, made vibrant with colored lead and crayola. Here, in various stages of decay, privateers battle for dominion over blood thirsty rivals in a rush to secure power and resources.
We fight valiantly for an empty promise which actively seeks our destruction.
Open wounds, rotting bone, and flying blades inform the viewer that our buccaneers, unwary of their fleeting mortality, serve as victims of the very system they struggle to perpetuate. The inevitable winner of this violent conflict, Death, stands tall in the foreground wearing a crown that proclaims heartless sovereignty over the final outcome. Clutching a bloody dagger in the fast embrace of metacarpals, Death waits poised to puncture guts and any last act of defiance.
Our swashbucklers fail to understand that they honor a corrupt system as source of wealth and prosperity, whose singular purpose remains to kill followers, instantly or through the sadism of slow decay. Long before they surrender final breath, many of these entrepreneurs fall into macabre spiritual decomposition, where the extended self expires by degrees as seen in Nelson’s visual subtext illuminating a pirate’s prosthetic leg and hand. Clearly, Exhibit 1 reminds us of Corporate America’s brutal exploitation of the common man, who fights to capitalize on an enterprise which turns on him as its next easy mark. Brilliant, simply brilliant.
When birds nor longer sing or fly, we must dread the fate of all living creatures.
Juxtaposing ornithology with the terse, cyclopean masonry of modern edifice, Nelson imagines a cartoon nightmare landscape in which birds have mutated to the point of having no wings or song. Seemingly naive in structure, the characters appear almost charming, yet unmask foreboding concepts.
After eons of expulsion from arboreal homelands, birds invariably lose their joyous chirp and twitter as means of communication. In their place a new lexicon of angry squawks evolves.
Bereft of natural habitat, song, and self-propulsion, Angry Birds pass the time in perilous ritual, hurtling themselves over the monolithic structures, inspired and erected by predictable and enduring phallocentric neurosis of a lost homo sapiens society.
In mad abandon, freakish creatures launch themselves skyward, purchasing victory with their lives in pointless tribute to fowl ancestors whose evolutionary trajectory once flew closer to the heavens.
Those unlucky competitors who fail to land softly, pay dearly for miscalculation. While some critics may envisage extinction through obedience to the inexorable law of gravity as a tragic and sticky end to life within menacing dystopia, astute analysis will understand the wisdom of deliberate self-annihilation as welcome release from endless illusion.
Strange beasts roam the unopened chapters of Earth’s impending story.
Unswerving in his exploration of biological transmogrification, Mark Nelson lays bare a stunning tribal abstraction of a horrific future beast whose speed, power, and ravenous appetite, pant and rut through the misbegotten union of predatory Felis Catus with the aggressive ruminant, Dicero bicornus.
Exhibit 3 – CatNocerous, ponders the oracular possibilities of a post-apocalyptic countryside and asks: Will humankind find sanctuary in an uncertain timeline where armor-bearing predators the size of a Ford F-250 SuperCab roam unchallenged? This tribal motif hints at cave painting, perhaps portending that a prehistoric populace will rule modernity.
Coruscating colors with hints at cubism, superimpose themselves in stark contrast to slate canvass, serving up delicious, implicit meaning whose confident abstraction inspires the viewer to consider intriguing disparities. The intense pigments scream of animal instinct, and its drive to gratify the immediate needs of blood, bone, and breeding with continuous demand to live in the “now.”
Nelson places this imperative of the present against the backdrop of ancient rock, which explodes into molten existence as igneous ash and lava, enduring eons to reach sedimentary form, till at last the ages transform Earth’s unyielding substance metamorphically through tremendous pressure and heat.
Wielding an economy of masterful strokes and carefully chosen hues, Mark Nelson exposes a continuum reaching ahead to conjugate a perilous future tense, while looking back at the very birth of time itself.
The ineffable scope of Mark’s breathtaking artistic vision defies easy label, but promises to transfix the eyes of discerning critics and lovers of imagecraft for years to come.
Mark Nelson: Portrait of a contemporary artist who still values good old fashioned privacy.
No social maladroit, Mark Nelson regularly discusses metaphor, message and technique with budding proteges, and anyone else who respects vehemence for the creative process.
Nevertheless, for the sake of his art, Mr. Nelson sequesters himself within the secure refuge of his studios by day. Ensconced within the foothills and chaparral evoking ancient Tuscany, Mark explores without interruption those iconoclastic media and metaphor which have ignited so much pyrotechnic promise.
Eager to share his unique perspective, fans and patrons alike will find Mark affable and generous with his time, never hesitating to offer crisp and cogent wisdom with respect to recess, sharks, skulls, mean teachers, and bullies, along with other earnest themes informing his unalloyed artistic idiom.
- 2012 Photo Challenge – Abstract Art (stonedorphotos.wordpress.com)
- Abstract Art Tutorial (pompandcircumstance.wordpress.com)
- Does Fear Help Us Appreciate Abstract Art? (bigthink.com)