Collaboration in painting is often frowned upon, works made utilizing this process are usually seen as in-betweens or after-thoughts, and in many famous cases critically attacked due to the uncertainty of the outcomes. Strongly stated cues and signatures of the artists’ works fall into a constant flux when the participants start riffing off each other. This, to me, is the great alchemy of the process which opens up new avenues for the artist; a kind of aesthetic reboot: mode of reinvention.
However, if Art History has shown us anything, ground-breaking moments are able to be achieved when artists collaborate. In the 20th century, some of these memorable collaborations that come to my mind are Sophie Taeuber-Arp & Jean Arp (Dada Movement), the Warhol and Basquiat project which was critically damned and now celebrated, the David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno and Tony Visconti collaboration which produced some of the most innovative music of our times.
When David Wallage asked me if l could write on his collaboration with Dr Michael Mark I was faced with trepidation. I feel that it is an incredibly difficult process to write about two artists’ works which are aesthetically combined; where to begin and where to end, but maybe that is the point of this exercise we call collaboration. To set up the chaos which in turns creates opportunities to stumble upon something new. A new hook, melody, rhythm or the creation of original visual language being the goal.
Within these works we meet David’s compulsive and delicately weighted bands juxtaposed against Michael’s atmospheric and undulating fields of colour. The idea of a stringent minimal order against a romantic painterly field of colour is an intriguing and risky one. You have the feeling on paper that these opposing styles would be in constant conflict, but on the contrary, the artists within this collaboration have found balance out of the flux. Order within chaos. Both artists found a new hook on abstraction within their practices. Out of this comes the body of works, aptly titled Dualism. A place of funtimes.
Artist, Curator, Gallery Director
Ref: "Funtimes"...a collaboration between Iggy Pop and David Bowie.