Mark Ward his wife, Lynne, visited the Gallery in 2018 whilst on holiday in Tighnabruaich. At the time I was unaware of their presence as I was deeply involved in discussing the exhibition of historic works from the Argyll Collection with a group of local Primary school children. Unbeknown to me, they observed and listened to what the children were saying, before perusing the rest of the space and making a purchase of a pair of candlesticks by ceramic artist Julia Roxburgh. Lynne requested that we send their purchases to their home in Suffolk. It was only at the point of emailing that we struck up a conversation about Mark’s work as an artist and the obvious corresponding appeal of Julia’s colourful ceramics. Upon looking at Mark’s website and watching a fascinating interview I was instantly smitten with his work, never having seen anything like it before. It was from this point, which I vividly remember, that my relationship with the wonderful world of Mark Ward began.
Living and working in rural Suffolk, Mark’s studio is alive with a host of characters which he has created using an array of materials, from clay, paper and string, to sponges, dusting cloths and pipe cleaners. These crowds of creatures sit, nestled on shelves, watching Mark work. Originally trained as a Product Designer, Mark would now class himself as a painter. Yet his process is far from simple, a complex and involved system of creating characters, sculpting them with raw materials, bringing them to three-dimensional life, posing and arranging them into elaborate stage-sets before applying dramatic lighting.
Mark then commences the process of transforming these scenes into two dimensional form, making preparatory sketches with the aid of crosshairs to ensure accuracy in scale. He then performs his magic, creating magnificently colourful, perfectly harmonious and balanced, amusing and entertaining, entirely unique paintings.
The Gallery was due to host a solo exhibition of Mark’s fabulous work in Easter 2020, which, of course was postponed to Easter 2021. Alas, this was not to be.
I am, therefore, thrilled that we have, at last, been able to transform the white space of the Gallery into a corner of Mark’s world. Filled with colour and life, we have offered a home to his glorious array of sculpted creatures, and, of course, his marvellous paintings.
'Natural History', 80x80cm, acrylic on canvas, £1,700 SOLD