Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Mark Dubner

22 July - 25 August      Progeny

Link to artist's website

Mark Dubner. Progeny. 2018. Plaster heads.
Mark Dubner lists his teachers as Bob Boynes, Merilyn Fairskye, Ruth Waller and Mandy Martin. He was a student at the Canberra School of Art where he studied painting. After art school he put an economics degree he had picked up at uni to good use in a job at the Bureau of Statistics in Canberra. The job as a statistician lasted about 30 years. But he said he always maintained a studio, as a shrine to the idea of being an artist, perhaps, or as a locus of reflection, simultaneously physical and metaphysical?

Now Mark’s time is split between projects in the Solomon Islands and Timor arranged by the Australian Government as foreign aid, short courses at the National Art School where he studies metal sculpture and a studio at Addison Road in Marrickville, which is where Progeny came into being.

Progeny is a “respite from intuition” for Mark. Progeny he said is something more deliberate. A considered meditation that responds to the window space of SLOT and some of the 15 or so ideas the window threw up for him. He wanted something that was an illusion not an explanation of a fatalistic idea. He came up with lumps of clay that are like the stuff people are made from. “It’s fatalistic, all those heads present different pathways that end up in the same place.”

It’s pointless of course to ask an artist what their work is about. Their considered response to that question is staring you in the face. It is the work itself. Here a meditation on destiny and desire that encapsulates the kinds of lives lived around here these days. A life that has a beginning and an end lived across a passage of lives that reaches beyond any particular beginning or end.

Progeny proposes a question for me – is it fatalistic that our lives turn out pretty much like most other people‘s lives or is it that we are all living pretty much the same life? Either way, Mark's cypher, the traced outline of his partner walks lightly through this landscape of lives lived.

Tony Twigg


Mark Dubner. 2018. Progeny. Installation with figures and heads, plywood and plaster.