Mark DiBattista: Uncommon Denominators
Very excited to kick off our 2024 exhibition season!
Opening Reception: Friday, February 9th
followed with live music by KJ Denhert
on view through March 23rd
By training, I am not an artist. I am a mathematician with a doctorate in Applied Mathematics and a few academic papers in geophysical fluid dynamics, mostly covering statistical mechanical models of features observed in atmospheric/oceanographic flow.
My artistic training started modestly about 20 years ago, with two six-week classes in botanical drawing offered by the continuing education annex of the New York Botanical Gardens. And there it ended, as, armed with a lead holder, rotary sharpener and 2mm graphite leads with hardness spanning the range 2H – 2B, I ignored all instructional directives and set about reproducing exactly the stillest of life on the smallest possible spatial scales that the materials would allow.
Until the pandemic arrived. A friend invited me to participate via Zoom in a newly created art class with Krista Dragomer, an artist whose studio we had visited the month before the world shut down. It seemed a diverting offer – perhaps I’d learn watercolors, since, clearly, I had no need for instruction in the use of a pencil! So, you could say, it has been a long climb on a steep rockface, with growing comprehension of marks, materials and composition – the basic stuff of artistic creation – gained through the deepest of redpointing! The works in this show spring from prompts and objectives given in the final two years of classes, and evidence, hopefully, a broadened notion of value in artistic ends other than exact reproduction.
Artist’s Statement (Uncommon Denominators)
These works might be viewed as end states of material substances put under physical stress – the aggravated clarity of pencil applied in quick, jointed bursts without memory or visual guidance, the diffusive glow of graphite dust rubbed into, and out of, and into a textured paper, the spectral remains of an image partially erased and partially reapplied –
Or as curated, limiting realizations of advective, diffusive and evaporative processes that direct the evolution of darkening/coloring agents suspended in liquids, – miscible liquids antagonistic to each other’s suspension – poured on nonabsorbent paper, forced by surface tension and electric repulsion, inertia and gravity, and fixed through adsorption…
But if exact reproduction is a flat declaration, space is cleared here for other claims that suppose and importune, dare and pretend, translate sidelong into the dream domains ruled by night and candy colors.
The soil beneath the vinculum, grounds for an acorn, is strange, but wonderfully fertile.