As an artist, Mark Prime is concerned not with smooth, industrial finish, but with the rhythm of his hand and the density, opacity, and translucency achieved by overlapping paint. For Fluidity 11, 12, and 13 (all works cited 2023), he applies a glossy yellow engineering ink in broad vertical strokes on aluminum panels. Where the layers thin, we see a glimmer of the metallic surface.
For the exhibition “Native mother tongue,” the artist works with limited materials: bright pigments, metal, and assorted articles, mostly wooden, that he’s found along the beach in Alibaug. The arrangement of these seemingly disparate items presents itself as a scenography. Prime uses color to bind, hold, or extend meanings of found objects. For example, in an untitled sculpture, we see three wooden planks coated in orange, yellow, and blue paint, respectively. They are arranged on the floor like steps, with a spherical buoy resting atop one end. For another untitled piece, a black circular dial precariously balances on the tapering edge of a wedge of driftwood that’s been painted a burnt orange. The object looks solid and heavy, like a rock, but upon closer inspection one realizes it is only a piece of foam.
Prime’s artistic practice in many ways borrows from the tenets of his previous life as a musician; he is invested in developing rhythms and finding harmony through the use of texture and composition. There is a lightness to his work, stemming from his nuanced., understanding of his materials, his mastery of formal structure, and a refreshing dose of trickery.