Mark Masterson Fine Art
Works on Paper – A Body of Work attributed to the prints of Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Being a printmaker who is also a painter who admires printmakers who paint, I wanted to reimagine the works of one of the iconic painter/printmakers of the past whose work appeals to my sense of the brand of absurd that lies just below the surface of daily life. Bruegel’s work explores the earthy, unsentimental rituals of daily life in the Netherlands over 500 years ago. Grime, spoilage, waste, excess, violence, and abject sloth are all wantonly laid out on the canvas, displaying the harsh reality of life out for all to see. Appropriating this lens of Danish Renaissance genre paintings to guide my brush, I reinterpret the work of Bruegel, bringing contemporary images and iconography into the common rooms and landscapes of the Dutch master’s visual works of social commentary. Whereas Bruegel’s works gain their depth through overt and covert imagery thickly layered across the artwork, I take thick cotton paper and rip and reform it, breaking it down and building it up to allow me to create an arid, desolate surface that is reminiscent of an aging fresco, flaking and decaying on a stained limestone wall. The three dimensional painted surface is designed to be viewed from many angles, creating the illusion of movement on the canvas and evoking a constantly changing landscape with real and imagined shadows overtly hidden in the curve of a painted fold.