With its inverted, stormy earth/sky proposition in the thinnest guise of an energetic abstract painting (and there is nothing here to say that it is not an abstract painting), I…wait a minute, isn’t that a face? Isn’t that a room? Sensuous passageways open onto smoky layers of space, and before I know it I am held in a delicious suspension for I don’t know how long. Eventually I alight on a miniature backlit street scene that transforms into a “Kilroy was here” moment, a tiny graffiti of flat woven brush strokes that floats on the surface and seems to observe the vast space, just as I am doing. I recall Hudson River School paintings and postcards from the 1950s, with their surrogate viewers gazing at the sublime, and I am brought back to my body. I am in a gallery in front of a painting. Space, space, space. There is no accounting for it.
Chris Cran is a Calgary-based artist and writer. Mark Mullin is a Calgary artist who teaches at the Alberta College of Art and Design; his exhibition “fictitious device” was on view at Paul Kuhn Gallery in Calgary between September 12 and October 12, 2009.
This is an article from the Summer 2010 issue of Canadian Art.