banner image

Mark Ward

Tell us about your art practice?
My practice continues to explore the immediate environment of the south coast of NSW. It’s themes and inspiration have centred on a continuous association with the area since 1968.

Painting, assemblage sculpture and lino-cut prints are the disciplines I work with. A flow and interconnectedness occur across these disciplines. Assemblages and three-dimensional objects frequently suggest imagery for paintings and prints.

My subject matter is descriptive of where I live or travel – paintings and assemblage sculptures can be read as visual sketchbooks or diaries. A collection of detritus and found material that is constantly added to over time is important to me. Through the process of selecting and transforming unlikely materials, I try to create works still potent with their previous identity and meaning. My intuitive response to objects is often a starting point for a new work. What follows is a slow and deliberate working process moving from one piece to another.

Working surrounded by nature, often outdoors, suits my pace and sensibility. Parrots and finches have sometimes explored my table of coloured wood blocks while I paint nearby. At present I am working on a large painting inspired by a road trip I made last year to Alice Springs. I am also making more kinetic stick figures from carpenters' rulers and old lattice timber, adding to a series of abstracted figures made over a number of years.

What medium do you work in?
Painting, assemblage sculpture and lino cut prints. The themes and narratives for completed works often overlap between these disciplines. Assemblages and three-dimensional objects frequently suggest imagery for paintings and prints.

Where is your studio?
In my home at Guerilla Bay. My studio is divided into two parts. I share the inside room with my partner, and also work in an outside workshop.

How long have you had your studio?
10 years

Tell us what you love about your studio?
Everything in my studio/s is in its special place. I love the way I can move between the two studios and find what I need immediately. Sculptural works and assemblages which require power tools and workbench are done in the outdoor studio, while works on paper, working drawings and visual ideas and sketches are done in the inside studio. Working outdoors in nature suits my working methods in particular. I like ordered clutter. Everything I need has to be cleverly organized as both spaces are quite small.

Tell us about the strangest object in your studio?
I was impressed by the rustic home-made toilet roll holder when I first visited Guerilla in 1967. It lived in the outside drop toilet called Uncle Skunk. It has an innocent simplicity about it and a lovely soft pink patina above the maple woodgrain.

Tell us about the oldest object in your studio?
A ceramic tile made in 1978 by my partner, also an artist, shows me trying to solder the final copper joint to connect hot water in our first house. Our four year old son sits on my stomach. We saw the creative potential of the house and put down the deposit, not checking if it had running hot water.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one thing from your studio would you most like to have with you and why?
My oil painting box was given to me by a French student at the National Art School in 1963. His aunt, an artist in Paris, gave it to him when he came to Australia and he passed it on to me when he graduated. It symbolises to me the importance of the continuity of the “family” for artists.

Mark Ward, Outback Club, 1996, painted wood, 60 x 47 x 40cm
Mark Ward, The Couple, 2017, oil, wood and found materials, 115 x 68 x 4cm

Mark Ward has been a friend of the Bas for a number of years, he was part of the first project under the Bas About Town banner, Makers and Spaces.

See more of Mark’s work on his website: