Artistic background

Mark Masters Critical Analysis
Dark, foreboding caverns constitute the environment in which lie Mark Masters’ idiosyncratic and eccentric creations. His style predominantly draws upon the Expressionist and Cubist movements, although a nuanced inclination towards Neoclassicism is detectable in the heavily atmospheric nature of the works that demonstrate connections with the intense and dramatic skies portrayed by Jacques Louis David and Nicolas Poussin. His thoroughly unique artistic technique, in which he rejects conventional tools and, alternatively, boldly manipulates the oil paint with his fingers and rags, elevates his work due to a pure and primordial control over his medium. This physically direct connection that the artist has with his materials asserts his comprehensive internal thoughts and instantly shares them with the viewer as his spiritual energy is transmitted alacritously from his fingertips to the canvas. Masters’ concise and personal form of expression provokes the inquisitive nature of those who observe his artistic creations as each element of the composition develops a deeper curiosity to identify the implicit symbolism within.
Masters’ indomitable imagination and eloquent expression of his ideals are ubiquitous throughout his paintings and hold further reference to Surrealism with cerebral links to Paul Eluard. His unmitigated talent relentlessly communicates his intellectual perspective through an exquisite and subdued use of chiaroscuro and inherent connection with the world. These elements combine with a myriad of artistic inspirations that culminate in profoundly thought-provoking opuses that are both cognitively and visually engaging.
Considering Masters’ distinctive and individual approach to his compositions, inspiration from Constructivism is abundantly perceptible. Upon close analysis, an influence from artists such as Vladimir Tatlin, Josef Albers and Lyonel Feininger can be detected through their shared use of line and space. Masters often depicts figures trapped inside tightly enclosed surroundings with overbearing backdrops that draw impenetrable comparisons with Francis Bacon, particularly when observing the intensity and depth of colour utilised by these artists to convey the distortion of form. This is exemplified in ‘There Is No Breeze In This House’, which confronts the viewer with a lugubrious juxtaposition between the central figure’s frustrated motions expressing a will to escape motion of the central figure and the oppressively cramped environment that evokes the acute sense of confinement.
There is an undeniably sculptural element to Masters’ paintings that conjures images of the Geometry of Fear sculptors who became prevalent in the aftermath of the Second World War. His mechanical forms resembling coleoptera summon thoughts of Lynn Chadwick; the juxtaposition of delicate wings and harsh, almost metallic, forms and surfaces that often possess carapaces, wings and beaks seem vulnerable albeit simultaneously aggressive. This eerie combination suggests further inspiration from the three-dimensional work of Jean Dubuffet, Karel Appel and Wifredo Lam, particularly when observing the hauntingly anomalous structures and figures that they present.
Each element of Masters’ powerful artworks convey the inner mullings of the artist’s complex and intellectual mind; every aspect contains, at its essence, the details of a mystifying tale which holds allegorical importance to the artist’s subjective viewpoint. Perspicacious values exude from his paintings and suggest intuitive comparisons with Dadaists Hannah Höch and Hans Richter, while his philosophical ideals regarding religion and war seem akin to the Dada movement as a whole. This artistic attitude towards socio-political matters proffers a foreboding message with a compelling moral in reference to the irrevocable nature of humankind. This is increasingly apparent when considering ‘And It All Began With This’ and ‘And It All Began With You’, which solemnly depict a reverent interpretation of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, which build comparisons both with Graham Sutherland as well as the Baroque and Renaissance styles of art. Masters’ academic decision to reference a universally recognisable iconic image such as this further entrenches his warning to humanity to take heed and avoid repetition of the past.
Masters delves into a limitless pool of artistic inspirations and impeccably developed skills that catalyse his creative proclivities. The academic culmination of sources manifest in his evocative artworks as a dynamic and stimulating incarnation of his resounding internal truths; every attribute of these indelibly communicative works reveals the soul of the artist and fervently conveys his intrinsic message to the enthralled viewer.
Timothy Warrington International Confederation of Art Critics


Sublime Spirituality: A Critical Analysis

The refined body of work created by contemporary artist, Mark Masters, is a dazzling labyrinth of emotion, rendering each piece capable of evoking fundamental, raw sensitivity in even the most categorically impassive individual. Masters’ work is beautifully haunting and transports the viewer into his exceptional realm of dream-like wonder, saturated with tales of extravagant delight and occasionally harrowing wickedness, for Masters does not shy away from the real world and the vast spectrum of experiences which constitute human existence.

In fact, that is one element that renders Masters’ work so compelling and utterly absorbing; the dichotomy between beauty and suffering, and the realm lying between the two, which individuals often attempt to recede from out of a fear of the unknown, is organically explored within Masters’ fluid brushstrokes and nuanced symbolism. One of Masters’ most gripping works that champions this principle is ‘Nobody Came’ - this piece presents itself as a breath-taking tale of love and loss existing within mankind. The hues cascade so airily across the canvas one cannot help but feel a glimmer of hope manifesting from deep within the ashy tones he employs.

Upon first glance at this surreal conception, the formation focalised in the centre of the composition bears no distinct features but rather leaves the impression of two figures mid-embrace, bearing semblance in structure, and power, to Edvard Munch’s ‘The Kiss.’ Upon further analysis and observation of Masters’ effervescent work, ‘Nobody Came’ is in fact a heavily abstracted interpretation of the Crucifixion of Christ and bears a gravitas that transgresses the pigments of the canvas to truly convey an atmosphere of dignity emanating from this work and into the minds of viewers. Masters carries an incredibly rare talent in which, beyond literal depictions and realism, he is capable of intuitively evoking a precise spiritual understanding of his work and the emotional intellect behind it. In fact, one might suggest that this is a significant attribute that makes Masters’ work so absorbing. One glance at the deep charcoal pigments of the canvas in ‘Nobody Came’ transports the eye to a mysterious yet lucid universe in which hidden realms become uncovered while viewers are transfixed and seduced into Masters’ expertly curated tale of lamentation, religion and raw organic emotional intelligence.

Akin to the work of Francis Bacon, Masters’ painting is heartrending and is not merely a superficial attempt at achieving beauty. Masters hopes to truly make a statement and to elicit a genuine human connection between his captivating artwork and the individual fortunate enough to experience it. Like Bacon, Masters’ figurative paintings fall under the category of Expressionism through its emotional depictions that expertly capture the very soul of the artist himself. Like the works of artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s ‘Five Women on the Street’ or Edvard Munch’s ‘The Vampire,’ Masters’ ‘Nobody Came’ features deep, stark tones, high levels of contrast and elongated features that appear to be melding and becoming one with the environment surrounding them, making the canvas emit a lucid, airy feeling.

‘Nobody Came’ is a transfixing breath of life with soft tones that add a remarkable vitality to a sensitive subject matter thereby giving the artwork an overwhelming power redolent with the soft, hazy paintings produced by German Contemporary Artist and Abstract Expressionist, Gerhard Richter. When attempting to comprehend a masterpiece as intelligent and complex as ‘Nobody Came,’ one must not overlook the sheer expertise Masters exudes during his capable process of combining painterly, expressionistic brushstrokes with stark, meticulous lines. In fact, numerous compositional elements in ‘Nobody Came,’ such as the bold and distinct rectangular structure which forms the iconic crucifixion cross, show a strong understanding of geometry that earn him a place amongst the greats, such as the mathematically driven Dutch graphic artist and member of the Cubist movement Maurits Cornelis Escher.

Melody Morgan
International Confederation of Art Critics


My Thoughts Drift Back To Japan

My thoughts drift back to Japan;
How sad was she,
Motionless as the time-spent Unicorn,
Rested at my blooded feet,
The wind in her hair and her arms and her eyes,
Seeping through every crack of my frame.
Contagious shadows where spirits dance,
Driving their passion deep into God’s temple,
The forbidden place is now but gone-
And my thoughts drift back to Japan.

My thoughts drift back to Japan;
Perfumed days of youth suspended,
Flake like black snow and claw at the houses,
I watched my Father attack her with kisses,
With feelings so cold they drew ice from the Heavens.
Her barriers, like eggshells, had deep silent splinters,
So frail, her lips bruised like summer fruits.
Her eyes paint landscapes of bitter moons-
And my thoughts drift back to Japan.

My thoughts drift back to Japan;
Sprawled short-legged and chocolate-mouthed
I played in the gardens of secrets and flowers,
Long daisy chains through the Monuments of Games,
Leaf-ships that sail like the stars on the water.
Forgetting that I was the shattered illusion,
I ran over meadows of insects and poppies.
God held on the air, a faint rash of colour-
Then my thoughts drift back to Japan.

My thoughts drift back to Japan;
Emotions that bleed and they scar and they scream
And cackle like parties in parrot-house fever,
Sinking in mud as the earth cracks and spoils,
The petrified sun joins the moon that is hasty.
I mutter my hymns in the ‘icehouse’ and churches,
Burning my memories beneath Holy Alters,
Cursing now the distant moon.
In darkness, in silence, I sing out my praises
To Gods that care not for my vacant embraces,
And waiting for a warmer rain-
My thoughts drift back to Japan.

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