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Sobas

In "No More Gurus", what may well be Mark Braunias's 10th solo project at Jonathan Smart Gallery, there is a painting called Sobas. It is painted as is much of the work in the show, in a combination of inks and acrylics on canvas, and is dated 2002 - 07. Which is an unusually long gestation.

No More Gurus 

Mark Braunias

August 8 - September 1, 2007

Go Cat Go

Go Cat Go

This got me thinking about notions of closure in painting, or that moment when a painting is judged to be finished. Most work is complete when the artist deems it to be, of course. In Sobas then, this suggests that Braunias was happy with the range of surfaces achieved, from raw linen through transparent layers of ink, to heavier denser areas of acrylic. Sobas is typical Braunias - busy in its variety of figures and the different energies of colour and line. It also brims with humour - bearing witness to a sampling of humanity which is characteristic Braunias, from laid back bearded dudes to alien-looking busy bodies. But Sobas is not as frantic a painting as Go Cat Go.

Worly Wall

Worly Wall

Ungrooved

Ungrooved

Indeed, in Sobas there is a measured distance between figures. (Compared to the more cluttered overlay of forms in Go Cat Go.) And it is via this visual rhythm, this balancing of void with form, that we appreciate Braunias's painting of his figures within their ground. In Sobas the upper two-thirds of the composition is played out against a deep atmospheric ground of green and blue. By contrast, the background in the lower part of the painting is a flat, matt black. (With a reclining male, a puddle, and an attendant dog sketched in white upon it.) This variation in ground helps the painting sing. And dividing it this way was a solution Braunias took some years to come to. That black allowed Sobas to be finally finished after four and a half years.

On the longest wall in the Gallery, Braunias hung one very large painting, Worly, in between two small canvases das Ape and Ungrooved. In these works, Braunias is pushing his sense of line towards different and even greater extremes. In Worly, line is so dense at its center that it becomes black and almost solid. Line and form become as intertwined as a ball of spaghetti. It is only towards the edges of this painting that coherent form is suggested. And this is the point. In these three paintings, the sum is greater than their parts. Individual form, so important to the idiosyncracy and temperament of paintings like Sobas, Go Cat Go, and Moss, is now subordinant to mass. And when line does describe more singular figures in Ungrooved, it runs on, physically connecting them to other forms. So that quite quickly, a wonderful bundling of line is allowed. Which is a way of being that brings fresh energy, and new tangled sightlines to the painting of Mark Braunias.

Jonathan Smart.


Selected works

1.
1_go_cat_go.jpg
2.
2_sobas.jpg
3.
3_something_wild.jpg
4.
5_lost in space.jpg
5.
6_lost in space.jpg
6.
7_ungrooved.jpg
7.
8_mellow.jpg
8.
99_moss.jpg
9.
9_worly_wall.jpg
 
1.     Go Cat Go - ink and acrylic on canvas     2004-07     1500 x 2100mm    
2.     Sobas - ink and acrylic on canvas     2002-07    1220 x 1830mm    
3.     Somethin wild - ink, acrylic & enamel on canvas   2006   760 x 1000mm  
4-5.  Lost in Space - ink & acrylic on canvas    2007       330 x 240mm ea   
6.     Ungrooved - ink & acrylic on canvas       2005-07    1000 x 700mm      
7.     Mellow - ink and acrylic on canvas     2006-07     600 x 500mm       
8.     Moss - ink and acrylic on canvas     2004-06    1520 x 1220mm    
9.     Worly - ink and acrylic on canvas     2006   2100 x 1500mm