Mark Mullin: I’ll climb in your eyes will give Nickle Galleries and all viewers the opportunity to visit, or to re-visit, questions about the fundamental questions of painting as a medium, and as an essential means of communication. Just as there is a distinction between truly non-representational painting and abstraction, Mullin draws a line between what can be understood through spoken or written language, and that which can only be comprehended in visual terms.
The words and stories around Mullin’s work – references to science or nature, ways of being in the world, humorous and somewhat clumsy shapes that summon balloon animals, or articulations of painted space that summon stages and theatres – are helpful in talking to the artist about his work. So too, is the understanding that the nearly narrative feel of his current work is related to the nightly stories he creates for his young daughters. And yet, these paintings are not about any of these things. They feel like that, they feel like something we know, yet that something is elusive.
It seems, perhaps, refreshing to encounter an exhibition, essays and programming that consider painting solely by its own terms. It is a challenging proposition however, to engage with work that is not readily topical, not connected to a discipline outside itself. To move past the modernist and postmodernist battles about the death(s) and rebirth(s) of painting, to consider Mullin’s paintings for what they are – which is not as they appear.
Mark Mullin: I’ll climb in your eyes will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue featuring an essay by Diana Sherlock.
Organized by Nickle Galleries, curated by Christine Sowiak with support from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.