The weather in Charleston right now is hot, hot, hot…a balmy 92 degrees with high humidity. Even though it is technically still spring, it feels much more like summer. When I first saw the image of the painting “Burst of Spring,” I felt as if I were looking at a visualization of the weather we are having. This is one of the many gifts of our new mixed media artist Mark Bettis—the ability to present concepts and ideas you thought were only a feeling.
While “Burst of Spring” provides a distinct contrast to his other new works like “Homestead” and “Illusions,” it is a perfect example of Bettis’ passion for color and life. It shares the same attention to lines, geometric shapes, and gently shifting planes, but has a vibrancy that is irrepressible. Whereas the other paintings are more harmonious in terms of symmetry and color, “Burst of Spring” is like a flame—wild, but enormously interesting to look at. The brilliant hues of yellow, blue and red stand out as the primary base from which all the other colors are sourced, demonstrating a realm of chromatic possibility.
Most notably, there is a flow towards the top of the canvas that suggests progression or growth and the title evokes flowers more so than if Bettis had chosen the title “Burst of Summer.” The simple act of titling the work “Burst of Spring” presents us with an image that brings the painting slightly out of abstraction; whereas in pieces like “Homestead,” it becomes more difficult to grasp representational forms.
Mark Bettis’ debut solo exhibition in Charleston opens June 5. Check back next Tuesday– I’ll be counting down the weeks until his show!