MARK EDWARDS THE WHITE WOOD
Red Rag Gallery is delighted to present Mark Edwards’ latest body of work, which continues his enigmatic ‘White Wood’ series.
Once again, Edwards retains the strong visual narrative that makes ‘The White Wood’ so intriguing. Surrealist in style, it is forever winter, palpably cold, with snow on the ground. Most compositions are set around a wood of sharp, brutally cropped trees. Some also include isolated buildings, which the artist frequently returns to. The work is made compelling by the inclusion of anonymous men in dark overcoats and bowler hats, their feet sunk deep into the snow – a puzzling presence in the frozen landscape.
While the locations are familiar, the meaning of each canvas remains elusive, as the viewer tries to discern what preoccupies the shadowy figures in each new scene. The titles of the paintings allude to purposeful activity: ‘watching’, ‘waiting’, ‘searching’, ‘finding’, ‘meeting’. Yet, it is hard to capture a precise explanation for these actions.
Additional clues are few. A single red balloon appears in several paintings - hanging from a branch, floating near the snowy ground, or in mid-air. In some, an abandoned overcoat is pegged to the stumpy limb of a tree. A steam train is often glimpsed travelling to an unknown destination. There are suggestions of fires here and there and sometimes the curious glow of a singlelit room. The alchemy of these incongruous components creates ambiguity and tension, inviting infinite interpretations.