S Mark Gubb – made me smile :)

This week our speaker was S Mark Gubb – an artist who uses a wide variety of media – primarily sculpture – in order to make his point. And what is his point?  Mark says that his work does not come from any deep philosophical place, he is just investigating stuff that takes his interest.

He traces his particular interests back to the fact that he grew up in the 80s which he thinks was pretty bleak (the politics, the world situation….) – however I have to take issue here, I grew up in the 70’s – we had 3 day weeks, strikes and everything was brown.   In fact in order to research just how bleak the 70’s were, I went on a trip down memory lane…..  This is what I had to play with in the 70’s, at least computers had been invented by the 80’s!

Anyway…. Mark’s work is interesting and varied, from wondering if he could find where Evel Knievel took off for his attempt to cross Snake River Canyon (he did), to musing about the similarity between making a Pot Noodle and the 4 Minute warning.

Many of Mark’s works are fairly lighthearted and enriching, but not so his performance piece about the killing of Peter Fechter in 1962 I was shocked by how deep and moving it was.   How incredible it sounded to recreate this hour as he did, blurring the lines between the performance and the audience, I wonder what they thought of the experience…. read more about it here.    Other darker pieces reference the bullet that shot President Kennedy and the Iraq War.

I learnt a great deal from Mark about how to research a project, how to follow your nose when something interests you….  It was also interesting to learn how seemingly insignificant events and contacts have led to some pretty big work – and how sometimes if you just go all out for what you really feel like doing, you get the chance to do so.   Like a 10m high lightening bolt in Cardiff City centre for instance!

Most of all I loved Mark’s sense of humour and obvious sense of fun in the things he does. And the fact that he told me to relax and enjoy my work and most of all play!

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Trav’ller In The Dark – Hard Interchange, Portsmouth 2011-2015

Trav’ller In The Dark… I passed this hundreds of times and was very sad when it was taken down recently as part of the rebuilding of the Hard, but I didn’t realise it was done by Mark!

After the talk, I researched Mark’s work further and came across the text pieces he’s done, especially at Aspex Gallery.   I was struck by the similarity with some work I am preparing for the Graduate Show in May and also understood why Mark had such pertinent comments to make about some other text work that I showed him.

All pictures shown by kind permission of the artist – find out more at smarkgubb.com and History is written by the winners photo gallery.

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