While most of us use packing tape on boxes, artist Mark Khaisman uses it as a paint brush, painstakingly layering two-inch swaths of translucent brown tape across fields of Plexiglas, producing images both familiar and provocative. If tape is his paintbrush, then light is his blending medium; he considers his works to be "conversations with light."
Khaisman lives and works in Philadelphia. I had the opportunity to see his work at a gallery here a couple of years ago and I was immediately captivated by his ability to create luminous, thought-provoking pieces of art with such a commonplace medium (if I could, I would have taken one of them home with me).
Born in Kiev, Khaisman studied Art and Architecture at the Moscow Architectural Institute. While he ultimately found architecture to be too rigid a discipline, his work reflects an affinity for structure - constructing even as it deconstructs, each image reduced to its most essential, pixelated elements.
Khaisman is drawn to creating universal, archetypal images. His work is by turns graphic, compelling and mundane. His subjects run a wide gamut, from classical statuettes to elegant Louis XIV armchairs, and from film noir, to the Three Stooges. Sometimes there's a sense of action interrupted: something has just happened, or is just about to happen. Other times, there's a frame missing from the story, and we're left to fill in the blanks for ourselves.
1. Chair: $40,700 in 1991, 2007, packaging tape on Plexiglas, 48X36 (Gallery 5, image 6).
2. Portraits in Red: Duke Gallery, Wallingford Art Center, Philadelphia, 2009. (Gallery 1).
3. Frame_20: "I have you right where I wanted you," 2008, packing tape on backlit acrylic panel, 36x48. (Gallery 3, image 4).
4. Series Heads: Introduction Show, Moore College, Philadelphia, 2006. (Gallery 5).
5.The Stooge Study_3: 2010, packing tape on backlit acrylic panel, 36x48 in. (Gallery 7, image 6).
If the light box originals are priced beyond your reach, check out the limited edition 24"x30" prints available through the artist's website. (I think I may have to treat myself to one!)
Images: Mark Khaisman