Mark Colyer

O.K., Now What?

November 5 - December 18, 2022

Mark Colyer, MacGuffin #2, 2021

Press Release

Mark Colyer: O.K., Now What?

November 5 - December 18, 2022

Opening Reception: 4 - 9 PM, Saturday, Novemberr 5, 2022

Tanja Grunert is proud to present O.K. Now What?, a new exhibition of collage and sculpture by artist Mark Colyer. Kelsey Sloane wrote about the exhibtion:

Navigating a myriad of found and recycled material, Mark Colyer creates compelling compositions informed by art history, architecture, natural forms, and our current moment, while allowing the medium to be his guide. O.K. Now What?, taking its title from an eponymous work from 2019, is an exhibition of collage and new sculpture by the Hudson-based artist. Sourced from job sites and sidewalk sales, Colyer collects books, magazines, newsprint, scrap wood and metal, and combines various elements to create explorations in balance, dynamism, and intuition. These constructions are investigations of the artist’s visual language, individual navigation through time and space, as well as the autonomy of repurposed material.

Colyer’s collages, inspired by both sculpture and architecture study, are centered around found paper products, from art catalogues to repurposed envelopes. Working with the precision of an architectural model, each collage includes multiple cut-out elements, glued to chipboard, then combined to create three-dimensional assemblages. Colyer works at a one-to-one scale – no image is altered or enlarged digitally, in respect to the nature of the found object. Every edge, line, and face of the artwork is considered. Intended to be observed from various angles, the constructions hold their own secrets; unexpected imagery is found layered through the cuttings, and text is lurking in the shadows, each fragment serving as the respective work’s title, and allowing viewers to literally read between the lines and find further context.

In a new series of sculpture, Colyer continues his exploration into materiality and the art-viewing experience, and expands his assemblages outward and upward. Rather than creating something from entirely new materials, he is more interested in an economy of means, by using leftover wood from carpentry projects. By working with the found state of these objects, ranging from small off-cuts to long pieces of trim, he is considering new heights for what otherwise would have been landfill-bound. While he allows the medium to guide his making, the completed works are not necessarily about materiality for its own sake, but how the components can be manipulated to cause different emotional responses as they are viewed in space.

The confrontational form and scale of his outdoor sculptures are motivated by the sublime. His process is informed in part by a sense of awe in the face of both natural and manufactured height, found in skyscrapers, mountains, or trees, and the desires and fears associated with both viewing and physically reaching such elevations. The impressive, sometimes precarious stature of these towers may result in feelings of discomfort or curiosity, as they call for the viewer to slow down, look up, and consider the space around them. Found at varying scales through the exhibition, Colyer considers these obelisks extensions of ourselves.

While many of these sculptures remain unpainted, showcasing the as-is state of the material, a selection is painted in a specific shade of green house paint. This hue mimics that of a green screen, allowing for these objects to become interventions in both our physical realm, as well as the virtual, as they can be digitally transformed with new images, or disappear entirely. A layered rumination in materiality, experience, and how manipulation informs viewing, Mark Colyer’s O.K. Now What? asks where the mundane can take us.

Mark Colyer (b. 1990) is an artist and carpenter residing in the environs of Hudson, NY. He studied fine art at Hudson Valley Community College and received a BFA in Sculpture from SUNY Purchase. His work has been exhibited at LABSpace (Hillsdale, NY), Real Eyes Gallery (Adams, MA), The Hudson Underground (Hudson, NY), Joyce Goldstein Gallery (Chatham, NY), Art Omi (Ghent, NY), Tanja Grunert (Hudson, NY), and The Hallway at Second Street Studios (Troy, NY).