|Marc Ross, FISCAL HEART, 55 x 53," acrylic on canvas. 2013.|
To tell the truth, it's only the pressure of my admiration for Ross's works that forces me to break silence and find words for it. His art is so far beyond the verbal that it tests all the ways I know of communicating about it. This photograph seems simply silly to anyone who has looked into the depth, saturated ripeness, and calm discipline of this painting.
Smack a snapshot of the night sky on your ceiling and say, "There's the firmament." It's rather the same thing as trying to represent these works. Your body responds dumbly: You wish to move forward and into the event, to merge, or to respond in kind. With Ross's work, you want somehow to make a statement of equal measure from whatever materials could compel your mind as profoundly as paint, pencil, and watercolor do his.
|Marc Ross, detail, Fiscal Heart. 2013.|
Stand across the room and you'll see in all of them that the center is luminous in comparison to a denser, darker surround of color. But in none of Ross's works do the dark, framing edges guide the eye, as a simple drama, into the "heart" of the image.
The view from very close range is similarly surprising.The countless layers of colors and transparent mediums laid down, sanded away, revised and removed again achieve the illusion of a profound depth that the viewer could swoon and fall into. Yet lying on top are well-defined ribbed lines of color—like girders on a skyscraper construction, high above the abyss. These forms are material, palpable, and detailed. From these shapes—as from the central criss-crossing of lines, we know that there is purpose here—enough to give us the confidence to find or to make meaning.
|Marc Ross, SENTIMENT, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 48."|
Ross's work imitates none of theirs, though.
|Marc Ross, TRAIN OF NO IMAGE, #5. 23 X 15,"|
mixed media on paper, 2013.
The metaphor of child labor is nearly always a good one for art-making. In Ross's case, it is exceptionally apt because it highlights the aspect so many women know of having to wait, struggle, and bear the tension simultaneously with a process that will not be rushed, explained, or ever rationally understood. When it's over, there's a phenomenal, forever mysterious outcome.
The kind of creativity that produces work like Ross's may remind us of others who have worked in such a vein, the Rothko's and Martin's. But, as anyone who has labored will agree, a long process requiring so much work and trust is by definition always unique. Viewers who spend more than glancing time with the art instantly perceive the pure DNA.
|Marc Ross, detail, drawing, TRAIN OF|
NO IMAGE #7, 2014
I could write for pages and still feel that I've said nothing of any real significance about this artist and his work. Ultimately, Ross's work has to do with trust and patience; with reliance on the positive core of indecision and the way it makes you refuse haste. The more time you spend with any of this work, the more time you want with it. It gently pulls you into a place of contemplation or imagination. I find myself going back and being where I am, making up my lovely, saturated present from my buried and boxed past.
You have to see it to believe it.