December 19 2013

Exploring The Empty Vessel

Los Angeles-Inside the box

Born in Australia but now an Angeleno, artist Mark Whalen is best known for his resin covered paintings and video work. Exploring a new artistic path, he just created an site-specific installation for The Box and Lobby at The Standard, Hollywood which revolves around his new obsession with ceramic vessels. Read on as Mark explains the natural progression from his traditional mediums to his new work with ceramics:

Mark Whalen:
The idea to start exploring ceramics as a medium rather than simply a subject in my paintings came about through my interest in the history of vessels. A vessel can be so many things – a receptacle, a nautical craft, a tubular conductive structure, container or hollow utensil. They have many functions, from the rudimentary to the sacred. They are, at once, incredibly decorative, collectable and purposeful items and for this reason I have incorporated them into the narrative of my paintings as just that, collectable items and items that have a significant purpose to the characters using them.

I found that as the vessel forms were evolving within the paintings, so too was my thought process behind how my work can be presented. As with the video works I have collaborated on in the past, I have long felt that the subjects within my paintings allow me a freedom to explore broader art making forms without jeopardizing the integrity of the conceptual foundation.

Consequently, with the ceramics it is as much about the making of the vessels as it is the story that is being told on, or by them. The surface, the glaze, the finish mimics the resin on the paintings. There is a clear correlation that, I think, binds the works together as a much grander representation of what it is I am trying to achieve.

Video about "Vessel" by Mark Whalen courtesy of Monster Children

"Vessel", Mark Whalen's installation for The Box and Lobby at The Standard, Hollywood, will be on display through mid-January. Mark Whalen's vessels are also available for purchase through our online shop by clicking here.

Unless noted, photos by Edgar Nelson Obrand