Mark Gleason, Absurde
California based painter Mark Gleason and New York based Robert Craig each explore facets of our surrounding world and the human spirit, while displaying an impressive command of the medium combined with age-old narratives and contemporary motifs. Often metaphorical, their paintings dive into themes such as our strained relationship with animals and nature and aspects of the path of spiritual realization. The two will debut new works in side by side solo exhibitions opening this Friday, January 8th at Los Angeles gallery La Luz de Jesus. With his new series of oil paintings, Gleason picks up where his previous showing, “Darklands” left off, where humans and animals intermingled in sinister, dark lands that evoked the fear of the unknown. Titled “Blood and Fire”, he says, “These works embody my continued exploration of the forces that fuel and animate the human, the animal, and the elemental material of the world. In the creation of these allegorical images of solitude, absurdity, determination, transcendence, and consequence, I reduced my palette to the four archaic pigments: Red corresponding to blood, black derived from charred animal bones, fiery yellow and titanium white bring light to dark lands.”
Robert Craig, “Merry Christmas-The Entombment After Antonio Ciseri”
Robert Craig compliments Gleason’s works with his unbelievable depictions of still lifes and religious scenes displaced in modern urban settings, as if to make a connection between our every day reality and one that is only tangible in faith. Titled “Inobvious Epithets”, his hyper-realistic paintings that appear digital but are entirely analog present dramatically lit images of angels and sleeping cherubs in abandoned New York City subway tunnels, alongside a bowl of spaghettios, candy wrappers, and half-eaten sandwiches. In his version of Ciseri’s “The transport of Christ to the sepulcher”, Craig portrays the procession of Christ following his crucifixion, set against the colorful backdrop of Macy’s Herald Square, a glowing center of commercialism. Craig’s works are recently the subject of a film by fellow Pop Surrealist Ron English, which documents his incredible, aniquated process, explained at his website, which has confined him to painting 18 hours per day, everyday, for over 55 years.
New works by Mark Gleason and Robert Craig will be on view at La Luz de Jesus gallery from January 8th through 31st, 2016.