Syncretism is the basis of all things new.
We did this together.











janus

(charcoal on paper, 18”x 24”, original) Second Place, “Heaven & Hell”,  Northwest Area Arts Council, Woodstock, IL, August 2020

ncbii

2018


To me, mythology is idealism applied to a world that's less than perfect. With this in mind, I wanted to make a series that showed this dichotomy. The series begins with a mix of beauty and imperfection.
Who better to represent two opposites than Janus? Often depicted as a two faced god, with each head facing in an opposite direction, Janus represents the dichotomy of life and mythology. It is where we get the term "Janus-faced," representing two sharply contrasting aspects or characteristics. Many view the term, “Janus-faced”, as derogatory. But perhaps that negative connotation is a reflection of our desire to rid ourselves of the things that make us human.

Janus as a work attempts to merge the idea of dichotomous characteristics in life. Janus is strong, yet weak. Beautiful yet marred. Shy yet, brave. Unique, yet mundane. Dark, yet light.










Mark










my god
has  horns  too

(charcoal on paper, 18”x 24”, original)
SOLD ( in private collection)
ncbii

2018


Horns are provocative...
To some they suggest virility, to others, the
diabolical.
These mixed impressions were the
norm in past eras
when humans and nature
were more intertwined.


Long ago, we saw ourselves as part of nature.
We associated ourselves with symbols that
thrived within it.
Ancient Israelites placed
horns at their altars to challenge rival Semetic
deities such as Baal or El
. Greeks associated
Zeus
with the bull as a powerful progenitor.
The Fon of Benin (W. Africa) personified
Xevioso with the horns of a ram.

Since the separation of humanity from
nature, we have come to view the bestial as
separate from self.








Mark










thoughts
for idia

(charcoal on paper, 18”x 24”, original)
ncbii

2019


Part of growing up is understanding the meaning of ambivalence. 

As human beings, we are all bound by our fallibility and our personal pursuit of what we see as a better world.
My amazon stares ambivalently while holding two boccio dolls in hand. Boccio dolls are West African fetishes imbued with special powers by vodun practitioners. They were sometimes given to slaves to protect them on their journey to the new world.
The Fon amazons were an all female military regiment in kingdom of Benin from the 17th-19th century. Housed in the palaces of the king, the amazons lived outside of the confines of a male dominated society. But this privilege came at a great price as the Fon were, "more than most African states, dedicated to warfare and slave-raiding" (Stanley Alpern, 1998).
I wonder, "what does one do when privilege comes at the price of misfortune?" I'd like to imagine that the response differs by the individual, regardless of race or gender.    










Mark










moonlight

(charcoal on paper, 14” x 26” original)
ncbii

2019


The consistency of sin is that it is ever changing.
What was taboo in a previous era is often quite ordinary in the next.
The word “sin,” is derived from the name of a Babylonian moon deity.
And like the ever-changing faces of the moon, the definition of
sin transforms.

This depiction of a moon goddess is composed with elements similar
to that of a ying and yang. They both show the juxtaposition of the light
and darkness in perfect balance.  










Mark










dahomey in the cafe

(charcoal on paper, 30” x 30” original, in David C. Driskell Center permanent collection)
Best in Show. Touchstone Gallery DC , “Us : What Divides us and What Unites us” (Best in Show)

Juror’s Prize. Martha’s Vineyard Drawing Prize 2020

First Place, “Black & White”, Cape Cod Cultural Center, May 2021


ncbii

2020



I chose the dahomey Amazon as the subject for this piece because it embodies the archetype of a confident woman. As part of elite military regiment, these amazons lived outside the confines of a male society and claimed status and privelege in a society where, otherwise, they would have had none.

Resilient in its shape and form, the triangular composition of this drawing gives it the "fortitude" to stand on its own in a sea of negative space. And thus it justifies its existence, not by seeking to overwhelm the space but simply to blend with it, syncretically. 










Mark