Chattanooga, TN | Painting, Sculpture, Mixed Media, Printmaking, Drawing
Mark Mcleod is a sculptor currently living and working in Chattanooga, 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 Cleveland State Community College. Most of his work deals with issues of memory, with some forays into systems power and identity.
My primary focus for the past 10 years has been the ever changing and erroneous nature of memory.
Memory is a fallible, persistently shifting, exploitable thing. My interest in memory stems from my own inability to store and retrieve some long and most 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. These recreations of past experiences are explored through the scientific theory of quantum mechanics, which states that by the very act of observing, the viewer affects the observed reality. Every time we pull out the family photo album and talk about those experiences we alter them. Our reality is not as self-evident as it seems.
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 staged events; a combination of theatrical props and the happenings of Allan Kaprow. Imagery that exists in bits and pieces as part of these disjointed narratives are used to expand upon or attempt to create completely new memories. The gallery space, the object, performative aspects, and word of mouth are all employed as part of the artwork, hopefully creating an experience in and of itself. Artificial constructs, whether they be small white lies, elaborate stories or viewer interactive pieces are created to enhance the nature of the work. Whether it is the recreation of a past event, the formation of an entirely new event, or an augmentation of current reality, the divide between what’s presented in the gallery and what exists in reality are indistinguishably and irrevocably blurred.