“I have no idea what I’m going to create for my part in the Symposium,” Mark declares with a smile. He says he’s given up trying to plan his stone art too much in advance, and figures he will come up with a loose, flexible plan by the time the Symposium starts.
“I can work with fluidity, drawing on my improvisational self,” he continues. “I try to let the stone communicate, and I do my best to listen to it. The stone has a voice, and so do I. My goal is to honor the material and blend the voices together. The stone is done. Now it’s my turn to propel it forward.”
Each sculptor has his or her own process, he says. Mark tends to favor a minimalist approach, and he typically establishes “rules” beforehand—a rationale to guide the decisions as he makes them, while his art is taking shape.
“For example, I can simply make sure that every cut is level and plumb and perpendicular,” he explains, “superimposing geometry on the stone.”
Minimalism can be powerful, Mark notes, and part of his self-set challenge as an artist is to rigorously edit his many ideas into a simple, uncluttered end result.
Mark is looking forward to working with cut granite, which is a very different material from the smooth, rounded glacial erratics (think of beach stone) which he often uses for his art.
He typically aims to bring the form of the stone into contrast, rather than seeking more harmony. “It depends on what questions hit me… what keeps me engaged is often the next question —not the last one!