Saturday, 14 June 2014

'Without Us There Is Only Mud' : A Closer Look at the Work of Mark Primus

After reviewing the 'Without Us There is Only Mud' exhibition, I was delighted to receive this wonderful photograph by Mark Primus who was featured as one of the nine artists/ photographers. I had seen this photograph at the exhibition although was unable to find it afterwards to review! 

Therefore, here is my review of this wonderful piece by Primus, interpreting the poem 'No U.N. Intervention' by Brian Kinlan:

Stunted growth
The only measure left
Of a once giant cloud bearer
A desolate patch that contains
Enough physical evidence
For those willing to prosecute a crime

Primus' interpretation of a poem by Brian Kinlan
The immediate focus of the piece was the definite skull shape stretching along the bark of the tree. This gives connotations of death and fear, themes which could also be symbolised by the birds, in particular crows which are also symbolic of death and bad omens. 

Subtle red (bloody) markings including a hand print, imply a crime scene which reflects on the last line of the poem 'For those willing to prosecute a crime'. It is clear that Primus thought of every last detail with the portrayal of crime including several notions which relate to this theme including: the red markings implying blood, the skull embedded into the bark of the tree, the symbolic crows and the sign reading 'KEEP OUT'- a clear indication that something terrible has happened within this scene.

Personally, I love the more subtle and delicate smokiness of the clouds in the background. This insinuates a more fantasy-like notion within the piece that could represent the spirits of those who had been caught in this 'death trap'. This perhaps suggests a greater sense of 'crime' and death than may initially be implied.

In relation to the poem, Primus has interpreted it well and the viewer can see a distinct relation between the poem and photograph. In particular I noted the heavy clouds in the piece reflect on the line 'Of a once giant cloud bearer' and the tree has deliberately been chosen to reflect on the opening line of the poem 'Stunted growth'.

Overall, this piece is very strong and an effective interpretation of Kinlan's poem. The subtle red tones break up the monotones in the image, whilst the detail and connotations within the piece make the viewer left wanting to know more about the story behind the image.

Thanks for reading,