Surprise: Chad Mars is reinventing himself.
The 34 year-old Jackson artist says he’s learning to surrender his paintings to chance as he explores new methods in a show titled, “Heaven and Earth,” hanging at Brown’s Fine Art and Framing in March.
Working with large tools he makes himself, Mars’ goal is create entire paintings in single strokes. More accidents in fewer actions, he calls it, “painting outside myself, curating accidents into elegance.” Really, it’s all about creative efficiency. “I’m impatient and want to get a lot done when I go into the studio.”
Many of the pieces in the “Heaven and Earth” exhibit, particularly Mars’ space paintings, are only a few strokes of paint, smears that cross the entire image in a fluid state of change, developing naturally, he explains, “beyond my control.” “For a long time, I resisted surrendering and my paintings seemed predictable. (In these new works), I wanted the compositions to appear before me without having to think of them. It’s figuring out how to follow your heart to produce something interesting.”
Mars, who says he’s not a free spirit in his daily life, wants to make art that reflects his aspirations. “This new work is an expansion of myself,” he says. “It’s constantly doing things that you didn’t know you could do. It is growth…evolution.”
Becoming a full-time professional artist after exploring other avenues of creativity, Mars’ methods aren’t conventional. He doesn’t use brushes, working wet paint into wet paint, finishing sections in sessions. Mars explains, “Using metal and plastic allows you to scrape and join sections of paint, networking and meshing them together.”
“Heaven and Earth” is the first time collectors will see Mars’ new style that departs from his former abstract representational works that use a cracking method to produce the final image.“I still do cracked pieces but not as much lately because I wanted to explore new methods,” he says. “I do have a cracked piece in this show and I feel like it will help people understand, ‘Oh this is that guy and this is kind of what he’s doing now.’”
Brown’s Joel Brown says Mars’ work is a lot different from other contemporary works that are available. “People have responded well to his older pieces and to the progression of this new themed type of work,” Brown says. “We already have several people these (paintings) are going home with. We’re really excited with the direction he’s gone.”
Heaven and Earth hangs now through the end of March. A reception will be held March 5 from 5-8pm and will feature not only Mars, but the works of Clint Dear and Jason Thomas of Electric Dagger Tattoo Studio in Fondren.
See samples of Mars’ work: