Mark Siebert’s work is characterised by a focus on conceptions of art, value, consumerism, authenticity and the material world. much of the work questions hope with futility and idealism, there is an apprehension or something abstract, ideal.
Siebert works in series, with each using a different set of rules guiding the selection of imagery, materials, medium and scale. each work pushes and pulls at meaning from a different angle, giving opportunity to clarify points but also room to elicit different values from a body of work.
Images for Siebert’s work comes from daily roaming of the internet, products, shops or the streets, while medium is selected based on the impact and efficiency of delivery of an idea or image. scale is related to the point the artist is making and the source material used, in some cases the works are 1:1 (drawings the size of computer screens or bus shelters), on other occasions the works are scaled up to heighten their impact, importance or the banality of their content (oversized sms paintings) or, as with the recent losers series, based on the size of found materials.
There is a level of posterity to much of the artist’s output, made obvious in the selection of technique, subject matter and materials – digital forms of communication are appropriated (such as sms and the ipod) and remade with a technique that will outlive the short life span of text messaging or inversely celebrating a discarded lottery ticket. the work ages quickly, even when the paint is still wet the imagery is past its used-by-technological date, replaced by slicker design or an updated product.
Much of the artist’s previous work relies on irony and humour, often underhanded but sweetly reclining. in a catalogue essay on the artist ken bolton in 2011 (australian critic and writer) wrote of siebert’s work:
Siebert’s proposals are tendered at one level sincerely, at another as tongue in cheek. the purpose, or the effect, is to test our own identifications and reservations, to bring them into play… thoughts of hope, reaching out of the work to grab attention, like passed notes in a schoolyard.
The recent and ongoing losers paintings and photographs are both tinged with sadness and sweetness. the imagery and materials come from the streets, images collected with the artist’s phone camera, gathered on the way to the studio. siebert’s use of colour adds charm to bitter subject matter, this is a sweet romantic irony and something the artist comes back to again and again. as with other works, there is an abrupt transition between the subject matter and the charm of a pastel palette and tender but rough surfaces, fixed to the walls with discarded screws.