Mark M. Garrett generates work from a variety of materials and sources. In recent years, scissors have become his drawing tool and maps have become his muse.
"The scope of my work has morphed over a period of some 30 years from drawing to painting, from collage to assemblage and back again. I draw inspiration from a variety of sources that seem to find me more than I seek them out. I came across the paper cuttings of Hans Christian Anderson at a time when dramatic life changes left me feeling bare and dislocated. At some point I began to fold paper and 'draw' with scissors... particularly maps or anatomy texts culled from flea markets or estate sales. I often incorporate opaque and transparent watercolor as an extension of the color palette printed on the charts. I find comfort in the creative and obsessive nature of these collages as each reveals a unique process and persona over time. New worlds emerge in oddly emotional interpretations of once familiar places. There's an anticipation as they shift and evolve from factually printed documents to new and potentially fulfilling places of possibility. The technique of hand-cutting old maps and painting in the gaps emerged for me as a metaphor of holding the world even as its outlines shift radically and unpredictably."
The obsolescence of old maps may serve as a metaphor for Garrett's own experience of being un-tethered and then reinventing his connection to art and the world. It may also remind viewers that the boundaries of the world (political, social, cultural) are in a state a flux in a time of instantaneous digital connection. But in the end, one need not see these works as metaphors. The viewer can appreciate them purely as beautiful objects - shimmering, detailed images that seem to break apart and then grow back together as if by magic.
Making these works coincided with a series of life changing events & huge personal upheaval. Garrett secured a studio and rededicated himself to making art after a decades-long hiatus. "My experience of loss and change was like becoming un-tethered from the world as I knew it... in both the sense of liberation and dislocation ."