MARK WETHLI

Mark Wethli uses light entering through doors and windows to define the interior spaces of New England. The rooms are devoid of figures, but architectural fragments and bits of furniture, such as an empty chair in a room or a small table in a hall, document a human presence. Most pictures open into an immediate space which leads the viewer into another, partially hidden space. An open doorway ushers the eye into the next room, which is illuminated through a window. Light falling across a stairway leads the viewer to imagine rooms upstairs. The intensity, angle or quality of light implies a time of day, a northern location. Under a Northern Sky was his first conscious attempt to paint about living in Maine after residing there for several years. In a synchronistic reading of the image, the foreground interior space represents winter, the view out the door summer, and the mud-room, in between, spring or fall. By imaging the seasons as a transition from interior to exterior space, this work comments on the way that memory binds space and time together.

The paintings are formally rigorous; each tightly constructed image has its own underlying geometry. Yet it is the mood that carries the paintings, an atmosphere created by light falling through and defining space. For Wethli, light can convey a spiritual inspiration, a representation of grace, as well as the depiction of the physical world. He writes: "I like to think that these greater aspirations are as present and apprehensible as the light of day that falls around us constantly." Perhaps it is because Wethli contemplates and records light so serenely that his images contain illuminations of more than the observable world. Although the pictorial descriptions are specific, we each bring our own associations with houses to them. Our experience of these works is shaped as much by our memories as our observation. It is in the nature of their subject to evoke rich associations in which we participate.
 
 
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