One thing I’ll always remember from artschool is the morning when I walked in and the painting I was working on (A Baconesque image of an industrial chicken ‘production-line’) was suddenly gone. It was on the wall when I went home on friday, what happened? I asked the teacher where it was and she told me that students that were taking lessons there after I left had asked if it could be taken down. It made them feel depressed and nauseous and they could no longer focus on their work. Obviously, I was thrilled. It wasn’t an image of severed heads or explicit sex or anything, but still it had enough power to give people an actual physical response. Sure, it was a negative one but the way I see it, that’s still way better than leaving your viewers indifferent to what they see. Something that’s merely ‘pleasant to look at’ is, in my humble opinion, not art, but craftsmanship. Anyway; I managed to write a whole lot about me in a post that is actually dedicated to the art of Kendrick Mar. But, as you will read later on, it was relevant.
Kendricks works give me a physical sensation. Looking at his works make my stomach twist and turn. I would never want to see anything he makes, if his works weren’t so incredibly beautiful and well painted. Seemingly simple shapes, forms and minimal composition mare the reason that his paintings are very accessible, from a distance. If you look at the thumbnails you might even think you’re looking at the website of a Hallmark greetingcard collector. But when you move in closer, things get more interesting. The iconic puppets and figures that seemed to have been copied straight out of cartoons or toy-stores are not the straight lined, cheerful little people you’d expected. The minimalistic backgrounds are not uni-coloured, boring shapes, but vibrant and energetically painted. You can see red shining through the grey, adding to the magnificent malaise. Without losing any of its charm (cuteness) the figures represent emotions like fear, distress, sorrow or sadness. The works represent the artists own emotional states. in present or in the past.
The paintings feel like nostalgic childhood memories, but not the one-dimensional happy ones. Growing up can be a scary, confusing and lonely experience. And that’s exactly what Kendricks paintings make me feel. I want to jump in and comfort the figures, tell them everything will be alright. I just want to look at the works over and over again, hoping that things have gotten better for the cuddly figure, loving the feel of nostalgic sadness. So, part of me wants to help Kendrick, but I won’t. Because that might mean he will not make those beautiful works ever again.