Artist Mark Alsweiler creates folk-inspired figures out of salvaged materials and paints them in delicate pastel colours mixed in with punchy reds and blues. “I love old folk art and outsider art figures, so I was influenced by that type of naive work. Also I wanted to have a 3D element in one of my shows a few years back so reinterpreted the figures from my paintings into sculptures and they have grown from there,” explains Mark.
The artist’s figures are cute yet not twee, and the sculptures are a study in materials and the way they can be manipulated. “I use salvaged hardwood and carve away the main shape with a handsaw, hammer and chisel. Then I use an angle grinder to smooth everything off,” says Mark. “Recently they have turned into more assemblage pieces so I add extra parts with separate pieces of wood, glue it all together then sand them back, paint and varnish them.”
The challenge for Mark is getting proportions right. “They always come out looking different than you imagined once the shapes are cut out,” he explains. “Also if you make a mistake cutting or take too much material away you can’t get it back again so it can be a delicate process.”
With fine features and long limbs, Mark’s works are charming and showcase the capabilities of his chosen material. “I often work a lot around the many aspects of duality. So with the sculptures I try to contras hand-cut rough areas with the more smooth machine-made assemblage elements. Also I like the thought of making work that has a sense of positivity and humour to it.”
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