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Mark Pack on "In Search of the Sublime"
In my art practice, I search for answers to questions that I feel have not been answered. I have always felt that the answers about the world around me are informed by science or religion. They do not explain fully what actually happened. I believe that life cannot be fully explained, and that answers to questions only lead to more questions.
The word Sublime in simple terms means greatness. In Nature I see greatness everywhere, beauty that is beyond words. In my work I seek to find that beauty -- to emulate what I feel has not been described to me; to answer the unanswerable questions while knowing that I myself - nor anyone else - cannot answer the questions that I have.
My paintings are loosely based off of my interpretation of how rocks, fossils, and shells come to be. They (the works) are rooted in finding and observing rocks. I can spend hours walking along the beach of a river, stream, or ocean looking at rocks. Rocks are windows into the past. These paintings are really about my relationship to nature and paint as a medium.
Paint has the ability to be built up in many layers just like rocks. I suppose you could do this with other mediums also, but it is paints' ability to transcend itself that made me want to be a painter. Paint can both speak to the qualities of making a painting and also represent ideas around us. I often like to speak in terms that are ambiguous because I do not want to influence to heavily the person I am talking to. I would like the viewer of my work to not see what I see or what influences me to make a piece. I want them to connect with the work on a personal level that in turn leads them to some understanding. Paint has the ability to transport you to a world that only lives inside of the painting. Paint can represent the three main qualities of rocks which are sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. While representing these qualities it can also represent the act of painting itself.
Text excerpt from 2019 interview with Mark Pack by Olson Gallery assistants Chantel Charis and Olivia Zubko.