Mark Booth, Artist statement
My practice is concerned with camouflage and its relation to form transformation and illusions of materiality. Through pattern, light, and scale, camouflage can change the perception of form. A natural phenomenon, it can be adopted to disguise man-made objects and blend them into their immediate localities. It transforms the artificial into the organic and disintegrates structure by making it appear to shape-shift. Colour schemes and markings obliquely reference nature, but the choice of synthetic paints and their method of application render them completely artificial.
Scale is important – proportion and its relation to perception is scrutinised by the use of industrial-sized PVC pipe. Some are painted in highly visible monochromes, (traditionally associated with steel sculptures), to create an illusion of materiality – the work appears to be constructed from a base-material other than plastic. The sculptures’ scale diminishes when placed into an expansive context, and, conversely, increases when introduced into a confined capacity. Recognition of its mass is influenced by the volume that surrounds it. Early works were sprayed matt white, lit with fluorescents, and mounted on white walls to disorient and merge them into the substrate they were clinging to. Distinguishing between shape/background and light/shadow caused an optical sensation similar to snow blindness. The Netting sculptures are wrapped in nylon fabric – the pattern jumps off the surface of the work, breaking up the sculptural form to such an extent that the original base-structure is unrecognisable. The Munitions works appropriate children’s guns. Combat camouflage designs transform them from harmless plastic playthings into menacing and dangerous weapons, reflecting on contemporary issues of child desensitisation to violence, the over-saturation of war documentation and reportage by mainstream media, the ease of weapon accessibility in modern society, and the normality associated with today’s readily available toys of war.
At Phasmid Studios I plan to engage with the internal industrialised fittings of the studio and respond sculpturally to the exposed cable tracking and gas piping that snakes around the rooms. I also want to photographically document urban camouflage in Berlin by focusing on graffiti in the immediate area of the studios. Post-pixelation of the images will address themes of optical expansion and illusion.