Art, Chocolate Box, Mark Lewis 1975-76
Mark had already begun to engage with his personal perspective on Art, albeit a subconscious one, evolving ways to express himself and his ideas showing his talent in drawings and paintings, the two dimensional representations of an early interest in surrealism.
He began this in an unusually progressive art class when at school in Hong Kong. His Art teacher there, Brian Tilbrook, was a practising artist based in the colony. He utilised the schools studio facility whilst his students got on with their own work uninhibited, seemingly inspired and motivated. Clearly Brian provided a high level of Art tuition unique to schools, offering the 6th form students there a mature, considered, deliberate and exceptional learning experience.
Returning to the UK in 1975, Mark enrolled at Brooklands Technical Collage Weybridge, to spend a year in the art block there, similarly absorbed, but during this time was also able to make art works in three dimensions. The facilities in the studio were such that clay, plaster, rubber, and by borrowing the engineering faculty’s facilities, steel became the medium for the body of some of Mark’s work.
A typical dyslexic, Mark, unlike his intellectual arty friends had never read a book. He had never heard of Marcel Duchamp or any of his Dadaist piers. However, Mark’s mum had taken him to art galleries – one of which was the Tate, where he will have seen some Dali paintings and may of also have seen some Dadaist works or some other works of a similar ilk.
This said the piece above simply came out of Mark’s head. No considered research or reference was ever undertaken.
The overall concept was a chocolate like box of edible goodies, but not edible, ridged but looking soft, sexual and looking like food. Things to be eaten but can’t be eaten, things to be penetrated and penetrate. Clitoral and labial, the forms provoke a sensuality and an association with the sensuality of the mouth. The pear is ambiguous, having a penis and a posterior embodied in its shape. It shows us that the penis gland, its head end, is the same shape as the back of a woman bent over, her head towards you.
The blancmange, pink plaster in a glass; the cake, glazed ceramic; the jelly, red shiny rubber; the pear carved and polished wax; the scotch egg with eye, rough fired ceramic, false eye lashes, glazed eye ball…..
A theme of Dadaism and Surrealism continued to occur in Mark’s work further referenced in other pages. Mark as Art; The Artist’s Garret, Pain and in other works not shown (including Parallel, Soho 24 hours, Hand, A burger of Calais, the death mask, Padlock) each being the representations of an insight expressed by a mature, intuitive, intelligent and dynamic teenager – despite him being an ignorant and illiterate one.