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Mark Dunst

Mark, in his own words.

When I was a kid, we lived in a sprawling apartment complex in Denver, CO. I must've been 3 or 4 at the time. On the way home from the tiny community pool, I realized I left my favorite t-shirt behind. It was navy, short-sleeved and displayed a muscular cartoon football player with a thick neck that stopped at the collar where my head became the player's head. I looked all over for it: around the pool deck, under the chairs, at the bottom of the pool, by the bushes, in the parking lot—several times. My brother finally shouted, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?! My shirt! I shot back, my eyes darting around in desperation, glaring at the pool-goers who obviously stole it. YOU'RE WEARING IT!! Whaaaaat...? Such a relief to look down and find my favorite shirt that had never been missing. That's a large part of what I think my abstract painting practice is, an opportunity to search for the things I thought I'd lost only to find that I’d been looking for them in the wrong places.

 

We’re all lost in the same liminal space. Lost between a past that is dying and a future that is not yet born. It’s an uncomfortable space filled with doubt and uncertainty but it can also be filled with hope and optimism. Maybe we need to be lost in order to separate ourselves from the habits that are destroying us individually, socially, economically and ecologically. Maybe we need to separate ourselves from the familiar in order to discover a new path that better connects us to ourselves, each other and the world we are privileged to co-inhabit. 

 

In my work, I intentionally try to get lost which fills me with equal measures of frustration and aspiration. It’s not the kind of lost where time falls away, although that's important, but it’s being lost where the way forward is veiled in uncertainty. Searching for some sort of closure with the ambiguous mess in front of me, I strive to short-circuit the connection to what is familiar and habitual in hopes to discover something new or to rediscover something forgotten. Not wanting to hide, the dissonant marks compete and clash, then as if by fate somehow find a coherent rhythm. And I suppose we are all like each of these marks, wavering between awkward and elegant, working hard to find our place in the melody.