Nashville, TN | Painting, Sculpture, Mixed Media, Printmaking, Drawing
Mark Mcleod is a sculptor currently living and working in Nashville, TN. He’s been in numerous exhibitions and has organized on campus artist residencies for the past 6 years. In addition to creating his own work, he’s also the Associate Professor of Art at Middle Tennessee State University. Most of his work deals with issues of memory, with some forays into systems power and identity.
Memory is a fallible, persistently shifting, exploitable thing. My interest in memory stems from our inability to store and retrieve some long- and short-term events. I remember few events from my childhood and very little from my recent past. This deficiency has forced me to rely on secondary storage and retrieval methods. Video has become a backup for incomplete memories, and photography has become my proof of moments. My life has been subsequently organized into little blue digital folders by year, month, and event. This shortcoming makes me question my limited recollection of the past and what I have come to understand as reality.
Historical archives have generally served as a way to prove that an event did or did not happen, yet even they are subject to manipulation. Without a record-whether written, oral, or visual-determining the authenticity of an event is difficult, if not impossible. This idea of a non-existent history, or at least a transient history, has led me to make art that questions our experiences. Every time we gather with family and talk about our childhood experiences we change them. Every time we discuss past events with old friends, we alter those memories. Even as we look back at photos, seemingly unalterable, our understanding of those events shifts. By the very act of observing, we distort our understanding of reality.
I continue to explore current research in false and social memory, phenomenology and imagination inflation. These interests and my search for my own personal histories inspire me to create works of art that rely heavily on manipulation; a combination of personal documents, photo manipulation and a variety of materials are employed to reinterpret those memories. From layered wood pieces carefully digitally manipulated and then created using CNC technology to layered and sanded personal objects on large sheets of paper, imagery that exists in bits and pieces as part of these disjointed narratives are used to expand or create completely new memories. These layers are used like the everyday noise that gets in the way of accurately recording our experiences. This noise fuzzies the conversations. It blurs locations. While a negative in real life, this layering becomes an integral part of the work. Whether it is the recreation of a past event, the formation of an entirely new event, or an augmentation of our current reality, the divide between what’s remembered, what’s presented and whats real are indistinguishably and irrevocably blurred.