These pictures by Mark Lovejoy are not photographs in the sense that we know a photographic image to be; capturing light, time, a narrative or even a depth of field rather they’re singular in their pursuit of abstraction. They are a document of an ongoing experiment in which Lovejoy plays with printing inks on a press after which he shoots the result.
What we have here is a meta picture, a picture of a picture, the texture of the initial image flattened through the process of photography, an abstraction of an abstract image. They are colourful and vibrant, luscious and sensual and we can’t help but be sucked into their interior world that brings to mind a plethora of images; flowers, barbed wire, threads, water, telephone lines and rain drops on a window pane. This is a Pollock inspired explosion of artistic energy, a primal desire to create for its own sake, to make a formal beauty out of chance and chaos. These pictures are the product of an artist who has spent his life working a printing press and has taken it to an creative conclusion, pushing the machine to its limit.
Now in his 60’s Lovejoy has had an interesting life – it reads like a beat novel or a Country and Western song – he has travelled much, worked as a printer for nearly 30 years and is now making art that attempts to encapsulate a fascinating journey from Texas to Greece and Iran to India, all the time picking up textures, colours, forms, ideas, thoughts, all the time processing, making, doing. This is his expression. A life as colour. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
I am primarily interested in abstraction at this point. I have been experimenting for years with alternative photographic techniques in pursuit of these images that I am making now. Abstraction allows a viewer to avoid or at least examine preconceived notions as to what something “is supposed to be” . With neither conventional reference nor title one can experience the feeling or energy of a work at its most fundamental level.
On his website he has an interesting quote from ‘the Pedagogy’. I’m not sure if he’s referring to ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ by the Portuguese writer Paulo Freire – who in the book proposes a pedagogy with a new relationship between teacher, student and society – either way I thought I’d share it with you:
All questions are scientific, spiritual, moral or aesthetic. Spiritual questions have no answer. Scientific questions seek one answer. Moral questions seek one answer but by their nature must entertain some degree of ambiguity. Aesthetic questions have more than one answer and no answer is right or wrong.