Citylight Arts Project, 5603 NW Radial Hwy, Omaha, NE 68104
Join us on March 5th during Benson First Friday for the opening reception of “Patina” – a solo exhibition by Mark Sabaiauskas II. The exhibition will run through the end of March.
Mark Sabaliauskas II’s bold, large-scale paintings reflect a personal rumination on memory and imagined futures, referring to both the subconscious state and the alteration of memory. In this series of works, Sabaliauskas has shifted to creating work that represents both figurative and abstract qualities, revealing subconscious associations between images and text that emerge from spontaneous writing, painting, and drawing. This exhibition explores the artist’s subconscious, memories, and imagined futures and “brings all experiences, real or imagined, together in the present.”
Artist Exhibition Narrative //
For the series of works featured in “Patina” at the Citylight Arts Project, I was inspired to push my artistic practice by further exploring my subconscious using memory as the takeoff point. These works are a tool to bring memory and future together in the present. I discovered that after continuous recollection, most memories became wild “abstractions” of themselves – no longer recognizable as fact or fiction. I would re-experience memories by writing them over and over until they started to change – initiating a correspondence with my past and future self. I would lay quiet and listen for hours and then I would work. The more I worked, the more memories looked like imagined futures. For me, creating feels like dreaming, a tool to bring all experiences, real or imagined, together in the present.
Artist Statement //
“I don’t know if I work in order to do something, or in order to know why I can’t do what I want to do.” -Alberto Giacometti
Andre Breton’s ideas presented in the “Manifesto of Surrealism” have greatly influenced my exploration of the subconscious. I believe my subconscious to be the sum of all my experiences, real or imagined. I reach my subconscious through a ritual-like practice with the goal of a trance-like state. I do this by writing automatically, meditating, studying theology regarding deity encounters, and exploring memory. My materials and failed experiments must be knee-deep around me in a session. I have learned it is critical for me to work in chaos and squalor. I want everything that exists in my studio (outside of myself) to teeter on the edge of destruction. The overwhelming pressure of destruction and loss of control forces me to turn off and allow my subconscious to manifest in this environment. I push myself, my works, and my compositions in the same way.
When work starts to feel formulated and distracted, it feels flat. I then introduce more destruction to let go of the desire to control. I go through the composition with large, heavy marks, usually in black or white, to cancel out elements that felt impure or contrived. My process has become a practice in turning off conscious decision-making influenced by any outside source, pressures, or shame.
Mark Sabaliauskas II earned their Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2019. Mark’s work has been exhibited nationally and locally, and he has been featured in exhibitions at UNO, the Citylight Arts Project, Gallery 72, and in several exhibitions with Gallery 1516.
“I was raised in a large family, and growing up, my father and mother worked very hard and encouraged my love of creating. My father taught me to paint and draw while he was out of work. The old and colorful historically Catholic neighborhood I grew up in influences my attraction to bold color and intense visceral imagery. My childhood home is old, colorful, and intense – a floor-to-ceiling crucifix, bright orange, yellow, crimson rooms, laser blue carpets, livestock bones, gargoyles, goddesses, angels, and icons. In every room is beautiful copper, gold, brass, ornate everywhere, over the top always.”