Mother Tongue by Mark Laurin
Extended Exhibition Dates: Friday, February 25 – Friday, April 8, 2022
Please review our COVID-19 procedures in full here.
Virtual artist talk presented March 5, 2022.
Click here to view a recording of the talk on Vimeo.
Exhibition text by Lisa Kehler.
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Martha Street Studio is pleased to present Terra Firma, a solo exhibition by Mark Laurin (BC).
Terra Firma considers the impact of visual mediation on our understanding of the world. Through overlapping and interweaving layers of expressive mark-making, the works in this exhibition explore the codified ways in which we use line to make sense of our environment. Dense layers of descriptive lines are printed on semi-transparent media, often on both sides, to create ethereal and immersive images. Lines float on the surface, hinting at representation but eluding definitive interpretations.
The work hopes to spark a reflection on how we interpret visual language – how we read into it, what we expect from it, and how it shapes our cultural outlook.
My work stems from an interest in the catalogue of graphics that code our world. Culling from the history of Western mark-making, from engravings to maps to diagrams, I reference line’s role as mediator between the outside world and our understanding of it. Line is a unit of representation: extend it, divide it, curl it and you have altered its meaning. Each character holds shared meanings, allowing for a common language – a system for translating the three-dimensional world onto a two-dimensional plane.
I seek out lines that suggest, among other things, particular textures, movements, or actions and drop them into a spatial void, left to drift without context or representational form. Instead, they build a new ecosystem, colliding and enmeshing with each other to create an atmosphere of fractured meaning and distorted perspectives. Our visual history is broken apart into a landscape of abstract language, one that questions how our visual language is shaped and how it shapes us.
Mark Laurin is an artist working primarily in screen print. His work explores line as mediator between the outside world and our understanding of it. Mark holds a BFA in Print Media from Concordia University (2012) and an MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University (2018). Recent shows include a two-person exhibition with Neah Kelly at Atelier Circulaire in Montreal, Quebec, and a solo exhibition at Centre for Artistic + Social Practice in Hamilton, Ontario. He is currently based on Vancouver Island, on the traditional lands of the K’ómoks First Nation.
The artist would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council for their generosity in supporting this project.
Connect with Mark online at marklaurin.ca and on Instagram @marf.laurin
Exhibition documentation by Sarah Fuller.