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Mark Stockton
Beat Your Altar
October 3rd - November 2nd

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman

Beat Your Altar is a drawing-based installation that continues to build on my interest in individualism. I create a visually inverted space in which preliminary sketches have been scaled to the size of the gallery walls, and the final rendered drawings are small enough to collapse within a pedestal in the center of the gallery.

Large-scale, tiled ink drawings fill the entirety of the gallery walls, with smaller drawings hung on top. A variety of peripheral materials disrupt the exhibition: a life mask of Michael Jackson, small paintings, a playable PS4, and a MAD magazine.

Subjectively, this group of work is random and non-contiguous. It absorbs a myriad of subjects that have randomly entered my sphere of interest and influence. Personal connections are embedded but not important. The work defies genre; it spans portraiture, still life, abstraction and landscape.

From visual research, acquired via search engines, these subjects maintain casual connections that are tangential at best: a first name, the year of occurrence, or common fate might serve as links. Photography constructs these historical references to both person and place, but little attempt is made to add up the combination.

Contradictions exist: in affirming memories through the internet… in reproducing images by hand… in identifying with the images of people you will never meet.

The internet contains multitudes, and ultimately, an echo of sacrifice looms. In the end, Beat Your Altar can be read as contemporary Memento Mori, reflecting on longevity, death and relevance.

Mark Stockton is an artist who lives and works in Philadelphia. His drawings have been shown both nationally and internationally, with exhibitions in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Beijing. Originally from the West Coast, he received his BFA from Oregon State University in 1996 and his MFA in Painting and Drawing from Syracuse University in 2000. He currently teaches design and drawing at Drexel University. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife- Cindy, his son- Otto, and his dog- Hughey.