I am a multi-disciplinary artist working in paint, sculpture, and photography. Recent works depict subjects rooted in the body, but with a sense that things are off, that failures and distortions have occurred. These are non-normative bodies, perhaps experiencing pain, with an influence of pleasure and play. Inspiration is drawn heavily from a science-like inquiry of my own body-based life experiences. I am interested in the impact of failure, and how it alters the affected body.
I am fascinated by the interplay of neuroscience and bodily ambiguities. Queer Theory, Disability Theory, artists such as Alina Szapocznikow, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, and Jenny Saville, and texts such as those by Jack Halberstam, Audre Lorde, Virginia Woolf, Robert Irwin, and Susan Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor, fuel my curiosity regarding the impact of bodily ailments, the body’s influence on perception, and non-normative representations of the body in art.
In my sculptural paintings, dense layering and physical manipulation of surface suggest flesh, skin, and organs. Bodily details have a potential to create an empathetic response, a pull resulting from pareidolia: the recognition of the familiar when it isn't actually present. My work teeters between repulsion and attraction, disgust and seduction. Color references flesh, toxicity, and decomposition. From behind a guise of quiet invitation, deformities emerge, and shifts occur. When so-called abnormalities are found within the human form, self-reflection is imminent. If perception is stitched together from countless bits of information and experience, I aim to pull the stitches, and reconfigure the pieces.
Mack Carlisle is a genderqueer, multi-disciplinary artist who has spent the last decade teaching, working in the commercial art industry, and writing for various outlets. Mack received BA’s in Fine Art and English from the University of Massachusetts, a Certificate in Digital Media from the Moore College of Art and Design, an MA in Teaching from Pacific University, and an MFA in Visual Studies at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. The chronic illness and death of a loved one loom large in Mack's life. Medical professionals occasionally ask if Mack is in a medical field, given their breadth of absorbed vernacular. We do the things we have to.
In addition to teaching, writing, and making, Mack co-founded and was the grant writer for the first year of Miss Anthology, an organization supporting racially and economically diverse female and genderqueer youth comic artists through free hands-on workshops, as well as online and print publication. Miss Anthology was awarded a 2017 c3:initiative residency, a grant from the Precipice Fund, Calligram Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and additional sponsorship from Portland Community College, Marrow, Blick, SCRAP: the School and Community Reuse Action Project, and Artist and Craftsman Supply.