Points of Reference: Artist Mark Joshua Epstein

"Seasick Yet Still Docked" by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Seasick Yet Still Docked" by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Untitled" work on paper by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Untitled" work on paper by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Untitled" work on paper by Mark Joshua Epstein

"Untitled" work on paper by Mark Joshua Epstein

Describing his work, architecturally-inspired, Brooklyn-based artist Mark Joshua Epstein says: “I am interested in the binary of authentic and artificial. The distinction between the two presents itself most interestingly in the built environment. In my work I look to what can broadly be called recreations; period rooms, hobbyist models, architectural drawings. References are a starting point, but I am as interested in art-making materials as I am in conceptual investigation. I am an intuitive image-maker; once visual material is collected, making work becomes an improvisational act. My work swings between the poles of representation and abstraction, and in constantly changing camps, I try and stay loyal to both.”

According to Epstein, his newest painting, called Seasick Yet Still Docked (top), presents a significant shift in his work, one moving towards a looser pictorial construction that references models he has built. The painting uses fictional structures as a starting point (including a children’s book illustration of an imagined cathedral and models Epstein constructed himself – with alterations – from various hobby kits). It marks a departure from referencing actual buildings, which, he says, “has allowed me the freedom to reinvent my visual language and to experiment with the idea of narrative in a new way.”

For the works on paper, the setting was inspired by the Thorne Miniature Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago. Small, unrelated structures float through the rooms, “posing questions about authenticity and scale.” An inorganic ivy invades the period rooms, and “the addition of this geometric element brings the pieces further toward the realm of surrealism. The works are larger then the referents on which they are based, presenting an interesting inversion—rooms have been miniaturized and subsequently blown up again.”

For more information on Mark Joshua Epstein, visit:
Drawing Center: http://www.drawingcenter.org/viewingprogram/portfolio.cfm

“Drawing the Line” review: http://thephoenix.com/Boston/Arts/51526-Sketch-artists/

Uncommon Ground” group show at Vane Gallery, Newcastle, UK, February 2009: http://www.vane.org.uk/exhibitions/ExhibitionDetail.php?exhibID=46&page=exhib1&archive=true

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3 Responses to “Points of Reference: Artist Mark Joshua Epstein”

  1. Jason Says:

    Big fan of Mark’s previous work.. just keeps getting better. Amazing to see the development over the years.

  2. amara Says:

    love it

  3. Ep Says:

    Mark’s loyalty to to representation and abstraction is most evident in his newest work. His continued experimentation fosters his growth as an artist and as a person — he definitely ROX!