Mark Burrell


Mark is one of the leading members of the North Sea Magical Realists. His work has a visionary quality to it, which embraces deep rich colours of mysterious blues through to purples. The pictures come to life through delicate lighting whether it is a full moon, sunset, or from some magical source. “Sometimes I paint a picture as if just above the horizon, this makes it possible to see whole objects at close, or great-imagined distance’s. This is coupled by detail, painted with very fine brushes. The rich colours I use are made by building up fine glazes and complimentary colours that create an inner glow, which is sometimes seen in old stain glass windows. All these difference’s make an involved painting that can take many months to complete, but I hope make a distinctive picture that will be enjoyed for a long time to come” These paintings by Mark Burrell convey a rare command of a very peculiar (and very English) practice: for Mark is essentially a story teller who employs pigment rather than words to construct allegories, fables and fictions. His fantastic narratives are as much concerned with plot, setting and character as they are with line, space and colour. The voyager’s, somnambulist’s, disposed dreamers and possessive ghosts who occupy Mark’s vision and picture plane are not, however, spectral inhabitants of an ethereal dreamscape. They sip tea and drink whiskey, mend fences, feed goldfish, grow prize cabbages and watch television, just like you and I, indeed ‘you and I’ are the raw material for Mark’s eye as he watches us going about our daily business. These richly painted works come from a private world that sometimes touches the edge of dreams, but never falls into mere fantasy, for if we look we find a tight thread of reality running through them. The voyager’s, visionaries and physical ghosts who occupy his vision, sometimes mirror and occupy our own life journey, our feelings, uncertainty and our hopes. The elaborate set-pieces which form the core of his work overflow with beautifully observed props: jugs, rugs, tables, chairs, flowers and televisions to ensure that Mark’s magic-realism is anchored in the everyday world and is informed by meticulous scrutiny of the particular. Through the very familiarity of these fixtures and fittings, the artist is free to manipulate space, viewpoint, perspective and picture-plane as a process for de-familiarisation, to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar. I would strongly recommend that people familiarise themselves with the work and world of Mark Burrell. That world will not seem quite the same place or space again. In the past ten to fifteen years Mark has had in excess of one hundred mixed and solo exhibitions. Included in his CV are many London galleries including the Royal Academy of Arts, with exhibitions held in Europe and New York, USA. Marks work has been exhibited on television six times, most notably on the programme ‘Moving Art’ Anglia TV, hosted by George Melly, winning ‘First Prize’ chosen by Bill Oddie, who highly recommended his paintings, he was interviewed by Sister Wendy Beckett. Among his other awards the ‘Lucy Morrison Memorial Prize’ at the Royal Overseas League. His work has been reproduced in books, catalogues, newspapers, magazines and CD covers. He has exhibited his work world wide, three times in America, and closer to home the House of Commons London. Marks work can be seen throughout the year on Mustard TV in the documentary series ‘Bendy Caravans and Everlasting Pens’ written by Nick Murray Brown.

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