Alison Jacques

Mark Flores

06 Jul - 05 Aug 2006

"Gone West"

6 July - 5 August 2006
Opening Wednesday 5 July, 6 - 8 pm

Alison Jacques is pleased to present the first UK solo show of new work by Los Angeles based artist Mark Flores. In a series of new installations, consisting of hundreds of small paintings and a collection of new drawings, Mark Flores plays on the expansiveness of abstraction, simultaneously evoking the “end of the continent sadness” of American Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac and the commonplace, diaristic impressions of American poet James Schuyler. Flores suggests a place lost or forgotten, yet somehow hopeful. A sunny California utopia has crumbled to dust, but in the wreckage we can still find a few precious, fleeting moments of calm and beauty.
In the central gallery, Mark Flores presents an installation of numerous small black paintings, eight by six inches in size, that navigate the wall to create the impression of a landscape or cave. The paintings are arranged in a grid-like formation with consistent spacing between each work. The composition generates a visual effect in which the eye creates a dark spot at the crux of each intersection. Embedded within the installation are two drawings rendered in muted colours: the first, a portrait of a man and a woman in silhouette; the second, a drawing of a group of four men in silhouette. The drawings depict the scratches, scuffs and evidence of wear over time present in the source material. Occupying the facing wall of the gallery is a group of portraits created in shades of grey, of singular subjects sitting or standing in various poses. All source images are taken from the archive of historical photographs at U. C. Berkeley's Bancroft Library.
In the backspace of the gallery, a further modular installation of many small paintings expands out from the far corner of the room. The arrangement of paintings approximates the shadows and light cast upon a wall by a Dreamachine (a rotating light device created by Brion Gysin in the early 1960’s). The Dreamachine, viewed with eyes closed, induces a trance-like state in spectators who stare into it. The experience produces a kaleidoscopic array of intense colour and pattern, and some viewers also describe seeing images and scenes. Mark Flores’ installation consists of layers of paintings. The paintings on the base layer are created in blends of similar colours based on the colours Flores has experienced viewing the Dreamachine. Further layers of paintings draw on photographs the artist has taken and printed of the shadows the apparatus has cast. These paintings obscure the base layer, and here and there hints of brilliant colour peek out from underneath. In the opposing corner of the room is placed a drawing of the Redwood Forest seen from the ground looking skyward. All that is visible in the image is a pattern of branches, leaves and light.
Fluctuating between abstraction and figuration, mediated by painting and drawing, Flores believes the concrete representation of photography lends itself to a transcendent project. “We stand on the ground, but we may look toward the sky. We stare into the light, but our eyes may play tricks on us.” (Mark Flores, June 2006)
Mark Flores was born in California (1970) and lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his MFA from CalArts, Valencia (2002) and his BFA from the University of California, Los Angeles (1999). Recent exhibitions include a solo show at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2005) and Mark Flores exhibited in An Arc, Another, And So On, curated by Jan Tumlir at the California State University, Los Angeles (2004).

© Mark Flores
Unidentified (with gun), 2006
colour pencil on paper, framed
76.2 x 57.2 cms / 30 x 22 1/2 ins 83.4 x 64.3 cms / 32 7/8 x 25 3/8 ins

Tags: Mark Flores, Brion Gysin