Take a charcoal piece and draw a gazelle on a cave wall; sweep bright pink paint with a wide brush across a canvas; doodle, scratch, sketch, scribble, spray onto walls. All this is mark-making, a term that describes lines, dots, marks and patterns applied to any surface of a work of art as a physical and intellectual gesture on the part of the artist. To make a mark is to explore, to consider what an idea might look like, or how a physical form comes together. It is a trace of an idea, a shadow of presence, the evidence of existence. It can be accidental, deliberate, repetitive or one-off, controlled or loose, or anything in between. It can tell a narrative story or express a state of mind. In essence, it is a statement of the presence of the artist, their hand, their choices and their intentions.
The works on display in the Wesfarmers Micro Galleries showcase mark-making as an idea, as a process: challenged, bent, torn, carefully applied. The works express freedom and its outcome in each artists’ hands. Artist include Rosalie Gascoigne, Nancy Petyarre, Marrnyula Munungurr, Nyapanyapa (Wendy) Yunupingu, Nonggirrnga Marawili, Lena Nyadbi, Gretchen Albrecht, Narelle Jubelin, Howard Arkley, Karl Wiebke, Alex Spremberg and Brian Blanchflower.
Accompanying these is a sound work by Patrick Hartigan from the AGWA Collection in the Rise Sound Gallery connecting the Sky and Garden Galleries, which uses mark-making in its own way.