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Untitled #15

Perlman, Mark

Untitled #15

monoprint with handwork

2004 Purchase funded by the Albert & Helen Thalheimer Fund of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation

Marl Perlman's aesthetic was formed by his childhood home in a Pennsylvania steel town near Pittsburgh. "I loved hanging around the steel mills, rust was everywhere, a patina that covered everything and changed colors. In that setting, the beauty was in the decay." As a young artist, Perlman earned money by photographing buildings for a historical society. His favorite assignments were derelict structures that were collapsing and disappearing into their surroundings. The dilapidated buildings captivated him with their layers of plaster and wallpaper "peeling back to show the layers of time."

Perlman focuses on the beauty of decay in his art. His recent abstract work contains intricately drawn fragmented images that appear through layers of pigment and wax. He slowly builds up and tears down the textured surface using drawn lines and brushwork to mimic the aging and decay of objects over time. Outlines are smudged and clouded with a waxy glaze. When he begins to work on a piece, Perlman admits that he is never sure what direction it is heading in. A combination of conscious decisions and impulsive marks guides the progress of his work.

Reminiscent of the action paintings of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, this four-panel monoprint is energetically non-objective. Perlman's focus on all-over surface markings and texture is similar to Pollock's emphasis on the physical act of painting. Perlman's images disintegrate into marks in the manner of de Kooning's figurtive work. The lengthy and complex process Perlman used to produce this monoprint functions as a sort of visual diary. He alternates between broad areas of rich, golden color and random marks and images that appear sporadically. The longer you look, the more you see.