LONDON, UK.- The Grosvenor Gallery's forthcoming exhibition of recent work by Mark Shields will be the artist's fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. His previous show, Pilgrimage, consisted of 40 small paintings; sombre poetic landscapes, solitary self-absorbed figures and meditative, almost sacramental still-lifes. The opportunity to exhibit at Berlin's Brusberg Gallery last year prompted work of an increased scale and more simplified forms. The five large paintings on show in April are a development from these. They will be accompanied by a group of preparatory sketches.
Mythic and Biblical in tone, these works are predominated by the figure. More primitive than previously and pushed to the extreme foreground, barely contained by the pictures' parameters, individuals confront the viewer, monumental and mute. Arranged intimately in twos or threes, their gestures calm and symbolic, they exude a placid melancholy, a strange mingling of joy and sadness. These wait humbly as though heirs to an abiding, but as yet, unfulfilled promise. The muted harmonies and archetypal forms suggest a great and universal longing.
Mark was born in 1963, studied Fine Art followed by a PGCE at the University of Ulster, and currently lives and works near Belfast.