Cultivating nature — The paintings of Mark Pack

I have always favored the above quote by Brice Marden because it describes the fundamental ideas that I try to embody in my artwork.  In the simplest sense, I am painting about paint – but not as an end in itself. While exploring the material qualities and processes of painting, I am thinking of how these relate to life. ~Mark Pack 

I define my artistic process as one of cultivation rather than manufacture. Through my work, I am interested in exploring both the processes of creation in nature, and the ways that we as a society relate to nature. For me, this is a way to examine the duality between chaos and control. I am intrigued by the seemingly random creation of geological strata. Similarly, I’m amazed at the unquantifiable number of biological species that exist and the fact that new species are discovered every day. Equally interesting to me are the activities carried out by our society to control and understand nature. Rocks and minerals are cut and polished, then placed on pedestals as works of art or sold as souvenirs. Insects are classified and pinned into frames that become decorative wall hangings. Fossils are cut into slabs and polished for tables or accent pieces. 

My paintings and sculptures explore these themes through the process of brushing, pouring, and layering paint – sometimes hundreds of layers thick. Then going into these layers and cutting and reshaping the work, watching it evolve through various stages. “Growing” is the word that best describes my primary concern while painting. Growth happens in all living things and much of my work is in a state of perpetual growth. This growth may be interrupted at a certain point when I find a certain aspect that I want to venerate and display. Sometimes this is a temporary interruption, as the piece may undergo additional evolution if it returns to my studio.