Following a dramatic debut on the Canadian art scene in 1970, the career of sculptor Mark Prent played out to highly mixed reviews before the public for another thirteen years. It was an exhausting and frustrating period for the artist who was constantly called upon in the media to justify the disturbingly dark vision he introduced, which stood in sharp contrast to the smug serenity that characterized late 20th century Canadian art.
Refusing to cave in to the demand for intellectual rationalizations of his work, the artist became something of a pariah for public exhibition venues, who must routinely submit their roster of exhibiting artists to non-professional boards. So it was that Mark Prent exhibitions became fewer and more private every year; until they seemed to disappeared from the public eye altogether.
Many people have been known to ask, “Whatever happened to Mark Prent?”
Mark Prent is alive and well, living and working in Vermont (USA). He remains a Canadian citizen.
Many years ago, someone began circulating the false rumor that he was living in self-exile in Germany . This myth has often been repeated in unauthorized articles and web-lore. Nothing is further from the truth.
In 1975, Mark went to Berlin , West Germany on a major international grant, the Guest Artist in Berlin Program of the Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), where he resided with wife, Susie, for nearly two years. While living in Germany , he had two major solo exhibitions in German museums. Following a brief return to Canada , Mark returned to Europe in 1978 for a major retrospective exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam . In 1983, he moved with his family to Vermont .
Mark Prent is still making sculptures, but his materials of choice have changed from polyester resin and fiberglass to pigmented silicone “skins” over gypsum-polymer “skeletons.” The technique involved is similar to the signature method that he developed in the early 1970′s with polyester resin; that of builiding-up multiple reverse layers of translucent pigmented material to achieve a believable vitality in the cast positive.
Apart from producing sculptures for exhibition, Mark creates sculptures specifically for use in his performance work. These performances are, for the most part, one-time events which are recorded as video or film vignettes. Often, the performances are too elaborate to be repeated or performed anywhere other than on the Prent family premises. For example, they may take place entirely underwater or involve the partial destruction or change of the sculptural figures during the performance. These performance pieces represent a new collaborative relationship with his son Jesse Prent, who is a videographer. Some of these performances are as disturbing as Mark’s early sculptural work.
As far back as the late 1970′s Mark Prent began making small items of sculptural jewelry for his wife and friends.
Over the years, this interest has expanded and developed in many surprising directions, with Mark offering custom originals and small editions for sale. You can visit the jewelry gallery to see both his classic designs and new offerings.