Mark Booth, Verzinkt winkel (30-12.7-90°)
265mmHx300mmWx276mmD, Galvanised steel.

Mark Booth

1 May—30 July 2017

Independent residency program

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.

Mark Booth has completed a BFA at the National Art School, Sydney. He’s exhibited solo in Australia at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Dickerson Gallery, Alaska Projects, MOP, Factory 49, and Firstdraft. He has had group shows at Hazelhurst, Manly and Cessnock Regional Galleries, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Town Hall Gallery (Melbourne), National Art School Gallery, Newington Armory, Dominick Mersch, Brenda May, and Australian Galleries. He has had a major solo show at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, and participated in the art events Cementa15 (Kandos), and Future/Public Artlands (Dubbo). Mark recently won the Major Award at Sculpture at Scenic World, has won Sculpture in the Vineyards, was Highly Commended in The North Sydney Art Prize, and been a finalist in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Tom Bass Prize, Paddington Art Prize, Deakin University Small Sculpture Prize, Sculpture at Sawmillers, and Sculpture by the Sea. He has twice won a NSW Artists’ Grant (NAVA), and recently undertaken residences at The Armory (Sydney Olympic Park Authority), and Phasmid Studios (Berlin). In 2018 he will undertake a MFA in sculpture at UNSW Art & Design, where he has been awarded a UPA Scholarship. Mark currently lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

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