Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mark Booth: A Review of a Review

This is a tad late, but better late than never!

On the 6th of October, there was something special going on in room 1307B - Mark Booth's penultimate review. As some of you may know, Mark is one of many awesome faculty members of the Writing department, and deals mostly in writing, sound and painting. As a requirement to qualify for tenure, Mark put a show together as a review of his work.

In general, I was a little surprised that he didn't discuss any of his sound pieces, but I got to see a different side to his work - mainly, his paintings and installations. Many pieces were an interesting fusion of text and abstracted images that evoked more of a feeling than represented anything, but the carefully handwritten text was what interested me most. As a student in the writing department, I've always struggled to know exactly what to put on any text art project, but Mark here seems to pull it off without a sweat: for example, one of his pieces read "One day I went to bed with a witch. The next morning, I could only remember 25 of 26 letters of the alphabet" [exact wording may be slightly different - I'm writing from memory]. There is something personal but distancing about his work, which is not quite ethereal due to the concrete words and language he uses, yet not quite of this world due to the soft colours he uses for painting the background.

Mark also explores the interaction between humans and spaces - an avid fan of George Perec's Of Species and Spaces and Other Pieces, Mark has taken this concept of "What is space?" and made it his own in a gallery installation, cutting out words from museum vinyl and weaving a story on the walls. He also showed us pictures of an installation/performance piece he did in a church, which had him lying on the ground amongst seeds. An environmental streak, perhaps?

In any case, if SAIC doesn't grant him his tenure, I'll...write a letter of complaint! I'll have you know that I can be very persuasive on paper.

Hm. Perhaps this is more of a shoutout than a review. Ah well.

- Nicola

1 comment:

marit said...

"Art for art's sake is the philosophy of the well-fed."

- Frank Lloyd Wright

How is this not Mark?

Leila Wilson, Paul Ashley, Adam Levin, Eileen Favorite - those are my votes for tenure.