Speak Speak: Mark Sengbusch

Every month, Grizzly Grizzly posits questions to our exhibiting artists as part of our new Speak Speak series.  Speak Speak provides big picture questions, designed to give context to each artist’s show and to serve as an entry point for conversation.

We hope that you will enter the conversation and give us your thoughts as well.

This month, Grizzly Grizzly member Jacque Liu speaks with exhibiting artist, Mark Sengbusch.

1. How does pre-existing matter (media, design, and culture) influence art today?  How will it influence art in the future?

I see the history of Art as a non-linear, always accessible, timeless road. (The Q continuum experience existence like this. See Star Trek Voyager Episode “Death Wish” ). Lets say NYC is the birth of Cave painting and LA is the present Art Scene. Chronologically I have only traveled from Palm Springs to LA. But, my experience is non-circuitous. Not A then B then C…… But A then A then A…….   I can be in St. Louis and Las Vegas at the same time like traveling at Warp 10. I can experience first hand the lessons and revelations discovered and mastered by the Ancients, the old Masters and the first Modernists.

For example, early man observed gravity and the horizon making straight lines. Combine to form a right angle. Then squares, geometry and math. When we are taught “Basic Design” in undergrad it is neatly packaged as a pre-existing law. Universal yes, Timeless no. There was a single human who first drew a straight line in the sand with a stick. This grand accomplishment is re-enacted by every human as a child and we view it as trivial. We need not pay homage to our teachers, teachers’ teachers, or teachers’ teachers’ teachers. Not links in an endless chain, but one individual section with the potential to hold/discover the strength of every other link that has ever been or ever will be.
Mark Sengbusch. The Comb Series (2A). 2011. Scrimshawed Acrylic on Panel. 31 x 31″.
This basically comes down to Nature vs. Nurture. Skills and instincts are passed down throughout the ages by verbal and genetic means – and, we are constantly experiencing these lessons first hand. We learn from/by ourselves in the present and we preserve a heritage (links in an endless chain, here).

People ask me if I look at Lewitt or Albers (yes, I love her work), but I do not have 20 open books on my studio floor, nor do I have clippings taped to my wall all research style. To me these sorts of moves are a means to culture robbing or exoticizing, symptomatic of simulacra. Not to downplay the work that has come before me. All I am saying is that a Reinhart, a Spider’s web and a circuit board all hold the same weight.

2. What role does pattern play within contemporary art?

Sometimes an attempt at anti-pattern can reveal new patterns.

Mark Sengbusch. The Comb Series. 2011. Scrimshawed Acrylic on Panel. 15.5 x 15.5″.

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