It’s no coincidence that one of the Christmas songs you will hear these upcoming weeks tells you winter is the most wonderful time of the year: winter surely is something special. When the days are getting shorter and colder we all curl up inside, spending more time in the warm comfort of our homes and connecting with family and loved ones. Yet winter is a wonderful time to for art too! There’s a bleak, cold side to the season that has fascinated artists for decades: the season where everything gets covered in a thick layer of snow only to be freed again in spring.
It’s that dark feeling that British artist Mark Thompson, currently based in Götenburg, knows to capture incredibly well in his oil paintings. One thing that fascinates me in Mark’s work is the deep layer of melancholy and sadness he captures in his cityscapes. When Mark hits the streets to take photos for inspiration he likes to go out in the last hours of the day, capturing the buildings and the streets before it gets dark, right before you can no longer see them. In his paintings he explores the concept of seeing things for the last time, leaving you with a bittersweet sense of melancholy.
There’s also a feeling of unease that may creep up on you when looking at Mark’s work. Aren’t these streets supposed to be buzzing with life? In a way the images remind me of classic photography: having to expose an image for several minutes, leaving only the solid things on the canvas and hiding all the movement. This is exactly what Mark shows in his paintings: desolate streets that are otherwise crowded, and how it feels like to see them one last time before they disappear.
If you like the aesthetics of Mark’s paintings make sure to check out his Instagram account as well, the wonderfully edited images he’s been posting of Sweden are worth seeing.