S Mark Gubb (b.1974) lives and works in Cardiff, Wales (UK). Born and raised near Margate, Kent, he works across a range of media incorporating sculpture, video, sound, installation and performance. The subjects for his work are drawn from the social and political culture he grew up in; an equal fascination with things he finds so great and so terrible about the world we live in. This often takes the form of a re-evaluation and re-interpretation of contemporary culture and history, provoking us to consider our contribution to the world we live in.
His work has been widely commissioned and exhibited in solo and group exhibitions for organisations including Artangel, Turner Contemporary (Margate), Dublin Contemporary, Aspex Gallery (Portsmouth), Postmasters Gallery (NYC), Matthew Bown Gallery (Berlin), Mostyn (Llandudno), Castlefield Gallery (Manchester), ICA (London) and PS1 MoMA (NYC).
Residencies/fellowships include URRA International Residency, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2011), Standpoint Futures, Standpoint Gallery, London (2010), Cove Park, Scotland (2008), Arts Council of England’s International Fellowship at Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, Poland (2005) and The Wheatley Fellowship at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (2005).
Permanent public works include commissions for Grizedale Arts, Nottingham Contemporary, Aspex Gallery (Portsmouth) and The Welsh Assembly Government.
He is also a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at The University of Worcester and is currently working towards a solo-show at Mostyn (Llandudno) in March 2018. This exhibition will be alongside a solo exhibition by LA-based British Pop Artist, Derek Boshier, which he will co-curate.
I am particularly excited by the proposition of different sites and contexts. Increasingly I am examining ideas of agency – the action of my own agency through the work and also that of the object, site and audience – how those three elements combine to act upon one another. This is most evident in my public and performance works where a key consideration and intention is that they engage with an audience often experiencing them as an authentic version of what’s being visually or experientially represented (a billboard, a concert, a street preacher etc.)
In terms of my work’s subjects, it is the space where I can discuss the interesting and disturbing things I see in the world. I am a product of the culture, politics and geography I have grown up in. As a life-long music fan I am aware that my performance works incorporate the dynamics of the live music experience, as well as on occasion using music and its subcultures as a primary source. Having been born in the mid-70s, the politics and paranoia of the 80s and their contemporary resonance is something that continually reappears in my work. Having grown up in a dilapidated seaside town, the extreme contradictions of the bright and showy summer months in relation to the desolate and grey winter has had a profound visual and experiential impact on what I make. Whilst I tend to avoid direct autobiography, I am also acutely aware of the idiosyncrasy of these things.
I am consistently excited by the relationships formed through my creative process and often find myself returning to individuals I meet. During research I’m engaged in conversations with people who have a particular relationship with a subject, history or culture, through performances I employ individuals with specific backgrounds or histories, and through the fabrication process I often work with individuals outside of the traditional arts sphere who have very specific skills. As a creative individual who is very much interested in people and their stories, the dynamics of these relationships often feed me as much as the final outcomes. In the same way I seek out and value these conversations through the filter of my work’s production, I attempt to imbue something of this open and conversational dynamic in the work itself.