Scrambled. Oil Paint & Martini Glass

Scrambled. Oil Paint & Martini Glass

Mark Chepp

Portsmouth, OH


1974  MA  University of Wisconsin
1972  MS   University of Wisconsin
1970  BFA  University of Wisconsin

Solo Exhibitions

2013  Wittenberg University
2012  Southern Ohio Museum
2010  The Canton Museum of Art

Group Exhibitions

2012  Springfield Museum of Art
2011   Springfield Museum of Art
2010   Keny Galleries
2009  Springfield Museum of Art
2008  Springfield Museum of Art
2007  Springfield Museum of Art
2006  Springfield Museum of Art
2005  Springfield Museum of Art 

Selected Collections

To Come

Artist Statement

A dominant subtext throughout the history of Modernism has been the remarkable resiliency of traditional painting.  Since the advent of photography during the 1840's, the onslaught of modernity's technological and sociological advances have each, in their turn, brought about the concurrent, dire predictions of painting's imminent demise.  However, just the opposite has proven to be the case.  After centuries of perfecting the techniques of presenting an illusion of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface, photography's uncompromising and facile ability to do just that both forced and freed painters to explore a whole universe of other formalistic concerns.  Furthermore, the post-enlightenment relativism of Darwin, Einstein and Freud spawned a new expressive subjectivity within the context of this evolving abstractionism. The subsequent, century-long march toward abstraction, then minimalism and, ultimately, a non-object-oriented aesthetic - Modernism - is both the story and the history of 20th century art.  However, this recent history was largely rejected during the final quarter of the century, as painters returned to an earlier history, borrowing traditional and recognizable themes and subject matter from the past, mixing and matching these in a seemingly endless and idiosyncratic parade of images.  The arrival of the new millennium has seen this post-Modernist sensibility respond further to the technological and sociological reality of the twenty-first century's digital environment. Many artists today are embracing the possibilities inherent in computer-produced imagery.  Traditional painters, likewise, are using digital manipulation of images as yet another tool in the production of conventional paintings on canvas and panel.  My work as an artist over the past three decades follows this post-modernist, then, post-digital path.

The paintings that I have completed since 2005 are conceived along a high to low-tech trajectory.  Images that are captured with a digital camera or scanner are manipulated with various software applications, such as Photoshop and Paintshop.  These enhanced images are then further broken down, via applicable software, into a paint-by-number version of the original, complete with specific color mixtures assigned to specific numbered areas of the painting.  Ramping down to the low-tech end of the process, this computer-produced imagery is then printed onto paper, and this paper image is then transferred to canvas or panel through the use of a carbon paper tracing.  Finally, after further breaking down the surface with either a rectilinear grid or some other geometric overlay, the resulting, numbered linear map of the image is painted, using the color mixtures determined by the computer software.

This is a process-driven aesthetic.  The flat, irregularly shaped areas of color derived from the paint-by-number software intervention appeals to me on several levels, not the least of which is its ancestry in the paint-by-number craze of the 1950s, a phenomenon of which I was an avid participant and to which I can attribute my first interest in becoming a painter.  In this regard, I see myself as very much fitting into the Post-Modernist ethos of freely mining the past for resonant pictorial antecedents.