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Award Sponsor: RayMar Art

The Helmsley Building
by Mark Lague
Oil 20 x 24

Entered in: 8th Annual Competition Month #8 - November 2014

Judge's Comments: Mark’s approach to painting is both simultaneously realistic and abstract. Realistic in the sense that we can discern a rationality in the shapes and colors of the world we know, and abstract in the way he fractures that world into bits and pieces and flattens it like a 1950’s abstract expressionist. At first sight this image may appear disjointed but then the brain kicks in and start to put it together. That’s the joy in Mark’s work. By choosing to paint in this way he requires us to participate. There is great diversity of mark-making going on within this painting – no pun intended – when at times Mark offers an edge for us to latch onto, and other times destroys or denies us anything of the kind. But nothing we see here is arbitrary. Every mark he makes is calculated and used for an effect. He paints by staining, pushing, pulling, scraping, smearing, poking, wiping, and touching. I am guessing he manipulates thin and thick paint using stiff and soft brushes, an assortment knives, perhaps a squeegee, and other tools I can’t second-guess, and all of it results in a rich and varied surface pleasing to the eye. And through it all Mark maintains absolute control over his light and shadow masses and color temperatures – the binding forces which prevent his painting from flying apart. - Thomas Jefferson Kitts