Mark Michael is an extraordinary person besides being an exceptionally talented artist. He has the rare ability to clearly understand and pinpoint the true inner emotional conflict that afflicts men, and portray it through the totality of his artworks: from the title of his pieces, to the hand painted words, to the actual paintings. Mark studies human nature and the psyche in all its most discordant aspects and portrays the many superstructures and facades it creates.
His compositions are a melange of styles. Surrealism, Symbolism, Pop Art, Pittura Metafisica are all palpable in his works. Troubled solitary figures perturbed by their dual ambivalent layers; overpowering symbolic figures representing the true nature of their inner feelings; other smaller, lingering figures representing the complexity of the human soul, all set in still, uniform backgrounds, to represent the importance of the subjects’ emotional state in a precise moment in time and life.
Incorporating hand painted texts into his artworks only emphasises and completes the multilevel sensory message. Words are a complement to the meaning of his paintings in addition to being an integral part of the aesthetic, visual expression of his art. Very in vogue in the 80s, this kind of graphic art was extremely utilised by Barbara Kruger, Sophie Kalle and Christopher Wool, among others, to convey a stronger, more comprehensive significance to their expressive means of communication.
Strong, unblended contrasting colours identify the different moments and aspects of Mark’s creations. Complementary and analogous hues skillfully utilised to stop time, versus the loose, gestural brushwork reminiscent of Kokoshka, that highlight action, movement and life. His colours are alive and vibrant and at the same time still and deep. Again colour underlines duality and conflict in an explicitly comprehensive manner, enabling the viewer to immediately empathise with the protagonist of Mark’s paintings.
Time is another important feature in Mark’s paintings. He represents time as physical objects or as motion, as the ever-present change. But what fascinates the artist most is the way in which “time influences the facades and personas we establish around us”. As Heraclitus said: “There is nothing permanent except change”.
A true artist in the best and most complete sense of the term. The Basquiat of the twenty-first century.