For his introductory exhibition at the gallery, we are excited to exhibit Mark Dicey’s new bold abstract paintings. Painting, the history of painting, and especially the history and development of Abstraction are Dicey’s passion.
His abstract paintings have no pre-planned direction other than the acrylic medium and size of canvas. His painting process becomes an unrehearsed, instinctual performance, where action, memory and materials all come together.
His first marks are made with both conte and paint. He uses shape, line, colour and texture to pursue a visual rhythm to the layered composition. He states: “with the marks, I assess, pursue, guide, control and manipulate. I work the composition in its entirety, rigorously working to make every square inch exist to support the whole”. Through this process, the painting is “built” from interacting and observing with what is taking place.
Dicey’s aim is for a viewer to observe the working process and to see the history of the paintings’ making. He stresses that the abstract shapes and colour relationships are from his day-to-day observations, not from a pre-conceived narrative or plan.
Calgary painter Mark Dicey was born in 1959 and graduated from the Alberta College of Art in 1983.
Dicey has been described as a community builder, dedicating himself for over 30 years to his diverse art practice and the Calgary arts community. Since 1985, he has exhibited his work extensively in Calgary, Banff, Lethbridge and Edmonton. Most recently in 2018, the Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary curated a solo exhibition (with catalogue) for Dicey, which included recent paintings as well as a display of works on paper and sketchbooks that fuel the paintings.
An avid drawer, Dicey sketches daily. The sketchbooks go with him everywhere and act as the foundation for his studio painting. Collaboration with other artists has also been a large part of his practice through the years. Dicey is part of a drawing trio, “Drunken Paw”, and co-founded the Elephant Artist Relief, a fund that supports Calgary artists who need emergency help for health issues. As a young artist, Dicey was active in Calgary’s experimental artist-run centres and has a history of performance, installation, music, teaching and curating. Painting, however, with an emphasis on abstraction, has been the main focus of Dicey’s art practice for more than 35 years.
His work is in the collections of the Canadian Embassy to Belgium, Alberta Art Foundation, City of Calgary, and Nickle Galleries.