Resting Space

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Resting Space

Typically, in a Foundation 2-D course in art school, students are taught about the principle of Resting Space—an empty space where the eye can safely rest, away from the composition's primary focus. This open space allows the viewer to take a break from the subject of the work.

When I conceived of this body of work, the collective "We" were in the middle of the greatest global pandemic in one hundred years. During this time, We noticed how little We notice anything. We noticed that We had lost the mountains in our landscapes behind smog-covered skies. We noticed that technology wasn't all what We thought it was cracked up to be. We noticed a disproportionate number of black and brown people were dying from this virus. We noticed the lowest paid were taking the highest risk. We noticed that there were some in the United States of America who were more than willing to prioritize capitalism over human life. We noticed elections do matter. So much was happening in the Resting Spaces within our society, and I came to view the principle of Resting Space with an entirely new perspective. Instead of interpreting "empty" or "open" space as unattended or not accounted for, I now believe that it is a constructive staging ground where the real activity occurs. Drawing is all about possibility: taking the risk to go into the unknown for the promise of what might be revealed. There is no Resting Space.

These drawings were sent to the gallery in Los Angeles from my studio in Philadelphia the week before the video of George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis emerged. This overt racism and cruelty is nothing that We, The People, haven't seen before in America. We often have a short memory in this country; but a long history of this grotesque truth is embedded in who we are as a nation. Each time I put pen to paper, so to speak, it seems that another one of these all too common tragedies has occurred and revealed another irredeemable fracture. There is no Resting Space.

As long as there is no resting space for me, there is no resting space for you. We are all in THIS together.

Take notice, protest and vote.

— Mark Thomas Gibson (2020)

Mark Thomas Gibson's personal lens on American culture stems from his multipartite viewpoint as an artist—as a black male, a professor, an American history buff and comic book aficionado. These myriad and often colliding perspectives fuel his exploration of contemporary culture through languages of painting and the comic book vernacular, revealing a vision of a dystopic America where every viewer is implicated as a potential character within the story.

Resting Space

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