Mark Dickson

“I am consumed with the process of sculpting: the physical act of creating by the deconstruction and reconstruction of ideas. To me it is the struggle to reassign beauty, power and meaning to both found and raw materials and allowing these forms to exist free of the constraints of the expected norm.
Of the endless variety of media in the world, metals are my love, for their possibilities are endless. Heated, forged, cast or welded; though the metal is cold and hard, with the proper persuasion it becomes warm and alive. For me, it’s the entanglement, the heat, sweat, and smoke, the challenge of steel, and fire -I call this the romance of construction, and thru this action I seek to challenge the familiar. It is my hope that the viewer will join me on this journey”.

When one views Mark Dickson’s sculptures, one becomes instantly aware of his love for metal of all types. He is constantly experimenting with different combinations and finishes. Welding, forging, and casting are the primary processes he uses in his work, but he is ever exploring and pushing the boundaries of the medium. Mark draws on knowledge acquired from independent studies at Sierra College in Rockland, CA. Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL., and varied apprenticeships in metal design, fabrication, casting, foundry methods, and blacksmithing.

Marks’ work is collected throughout the Southeast in public and private collections. His fluid large-scale pieces are appropriate for landscape architecture and open interiors. His smaller more detailed vessels display his passion for metal smithing and love of craftsmanship. Tight design, light abstraction, and the use of multiple metals, pigments and patinas bring to life these beautiful sculptures. They appear as modern, but at the same time represent as artifacts from the distant past; something the artist refers as “ancient futurism”. His sculpture compliments the modern style, for areas ranging from compact to expansive.

Born in the San Francisco Bay area and raised in the foothills of northern California. Mark traveled the United States, before eventually making his home with his wife in Tallahassee Florida where they have lived for the past 14 years. He teaches sculpture part time as a member of the adjunct faculty at North Florida Community College in Madison Florida, and is a full time sculptor with a working studio in the arts district of Rail Road Square in Tallahassee.

I am fascinated by metals. The possibilities when working with them as a medium are endless.  One can constantly experiment with different combinations, alloys and finishes without exhausting the potential of discovery.  For the most part I am welding, forging, and casting as the primary processes in my work.  I use the MIG (metal inert gas) and TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding methods.
I also use an Oxy-acetylene torch. This is taking 2 compressed gas cylinders, one with oxygen and one containing acetylene and then combining the gasses at specific ratios.  When passed through hoses and a torch body, they burn and create a high temp flame for cutting, shaping and welding metals.  I employ the use of a plasma torch for cutting and shaping also.  This tool uses an electric arc and compressed air to cut metal.  Air at 80 psi passes through the electric arc creating plasma (which is from 7,000 to 12,000 degrees), in turn vaporizing the metal and blowing the melted metal downward creating a clean cut.
The excitement for me is all about form, texture, color and the combination of multiple metals.  I am pairing different alloys of steel, aluminum, copper, bronze sometimes all in one sculpture.  The interplay of these metallic combinations creates a dramatic composition.  I am using chemicals and acids to etch and create texture and color, as well as specific types of paints and metal dyes combined with this process.


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