Nancy Toomey Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Mark Perlman entitled "Lost and Found" on view from July 12 to August 31, 2019. The gallery is located inside San Francisco's Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street. The public is invited to the artist reception on Saturday, August 3, from 5pm to 7pm.
Mark Perlman developed the body of work for his current exhibition "Lost and Found" out of a process of elimination. In the past, his picture plane contained as much surface, color, and mark making as he could fit into a painting. Over the past few years he has deliberately attempted to contain some of his energy during the process, and reduce the surface and colors to a more modest necessity. In this show Perlman directs our attention to the contradictions he inherited from disciplines as diverse as abstract expressionism, color field painting, and even minimalism.
The open spirit of gestural expressionism is compressed into the contemplative language of harmonic structures that are more contained and directed. There is a balance and equilibrium of pattern and shape that suggest a negation and mindfulness that clearly distinguish these paintings from his other bodies of work. Though still maintaining their inherent lyricism, these works investigate the contradictions of flatness with atmosphere, and solitude with energy. As art historian Michael Shwager states, "The new paintings are more elusive, the images suspended in a kind of existential state, caught between the familiar and the things we cannot yet name"
Perlman works in the medium of encaustic: pigment mixed with hot wax, the oldest form of painting in civilization dating back to Egyptian Old Kingdom tombs. The paintings are built up layer over layer to create what the artist calls the under belly, a luminous field of mid-tone color upon which he composes and builds his imagery.
Panel, rather than canvas, has long been Perlman's medium of choice. Thickened by encaustic, the surfaces are distressed and layered, records of covering and uncovering, image and field, dark and light, rough and smooth. Working on many paintings at once, he develops a surface with the wax while inscribing a general form based on informed instinct that develops over the time of the painting. He spends hours with a small razor and eliminates all the unnecessary marks and noise that might appear to compete with the gestalt of each painting. This editing is paramount in making a final decision as to when a work is complete. The viewer is then invited to make their own discoveries hidden in the deep views of color and line, scrapes and scratches, that energize the surface of each painting.
His paintings bear the evidence of their own history; a record of time that is inherently mysterious and deeply compelling. As Perlman writes, "My deep fascination with processes of change effected by time and nature's gradual breaking down of form has developed into a profound meditation on loss and dissolution, restoration and retrieval, and the interaction between mutability and permanence."
"Although there is seldom a pre-conceived image that I start with," says Perlman, "There is a clear determination of where I want to travel with each painting. It is rather like being blindfolded and asked to walk around the land you have lived on most of your life. Also, imagine cliffs surrounding all the exterior edges. Although there is a familiarity of the space you have walked many times, there is the danger of going too far in any one direction."
Perlman adds, "Over the years I have been continually fascinated and in search of combining luminosity with the layered surface of buried or forgotten images. I am continually editing myself in hopes of reaching a balance of noise and solitude."
Mark Perlman was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and lives and works in Sebastopol, California. A former professor of art at California State University, Sonoma, Perlman has exhibited his luminous encaustic paintings in the Bay Area as well as throughout the United States over the last 40 years. He has also exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Beijing, China, the Manage Central Exhibition Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Moscow Central House of the Artists in Moscow, Russia. His works are in many important private and public collections including the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina, and Minneapolis Museum of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"Lost and Found" is Mark Perlman's second show with Nancy Toomey Fine Art.