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Chris Davis's "The Fifteen Before Fifteen" article on the So-Hamiltonian Foundation Fellowship Program:
"A major component of the program comes from employing more established artists, who contribute one-on-one mentorship to the Hamiltonian Fellows. One of the Hamiltonian Mentor Artists, Mark Cameron Boyd, an artist and professor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, spoke to the Fellows about one of his specialties, art theory. This is what he said of the program, 'I found my experience with the So-Hamiltonian Foundation as a Mentor Artist to be both rewarding and challenging. Besides giving me a chance to show my artwork in a professionally designed gallery, I was intrigued by the possibilities for helping Paul So establish the Hamiltonian Foundation as a kind of post-graduate training program, where emerging artists would be able to engage in discourse about the art making experience and to be further immersed in its relationship to art theory.'"
Ellyn Weiss's News/Blog posting on the Hamiltonian Gallery show, February 3, 2009:
"With the current show, the Hamiltonian Gallery has reached its goal to pair established artist mentors with emerging artists in ways that clarify and illuminate the work of all. (One is tempted to say “add value”. Gee, I did say it, didn’t I?) As I have remarked before, I am not a big fan of conceptualism stripped of visual interest, but in this show, the artists have achieved a satisfying synthesis of the two. The established artist is Mark Cameron Boyd, who teaches at the Corcoran and other local institutions and is a decidedly conceptual artist (E.g., his Corcoran class is titled: Post-Conceptualism: Epistemic Myth and the Metonymic Avant Garde). Mark uses text as his language of painting; he writes extended texts on blackboards, sometimes original thoughts, sometimes the words of others, then bisects the lines by erasing half of them horizontally. What is left has the look of ancient hieroglyphics and is oddly intriguing. Off to the side of the board, mounted on the wall, is a small tray with a few pieces of chalk. There is no sign calling attention to it and no directions. Eventually, someone brave may decide to use the chalk to write on the board. In the case of the current show, I was the first person to add something, but I take no credit because I already knew the secret and I just wanted to get the interaction going. Mark may come back at various times during the course of the show and take pictures to document the development of the piece."
Lenny Campello's Old Town Crier review of TXT MSG, August 2008:
"Song for Europe is a participatory installation by the very talented Mark Cameron Boyd. The artist uses his signature 'text-bisection' process on a series of chalkboard panels to address four languages with European origins – Greek, Latin, French and English — whose influence pervades Western culture. Boyd invites viewers to attempt to read and decipher the bisected sentences and participate in the works with the provided chalk.
I know the secret to Boyd’s nearly cryptographic works, and I can also tell you that they are smart and intelligent works of art."
Rachel Kaufman's feature on Art Anonymous, May 1, 2008:
. . . Art Anonymous, a mysterious guessing game in which eagle-eyed art collectors sifting through unsigned work can score a bargain — if they know what they're looking for. But even the pros might get confused. For example, Mark Cameron Boyd, a Corcoran instructor and conceptual artist best known for his scrawled illegible chalkboard installations, donated a 'mystery work' that will involve post-purchase correspondence with the lucky buyer. 'The thing about Art Anonymous is most artists probably just donate a smaller version of their usual work,' Boyd said. But he said he decided to donate a piece vastly different from his typical work."
From Retro/Necro: From Beyond the Grave of the Politics of Re-Enactment; text by Pil and Galia Kollectiv; ART PAPERS, November 2007:
"But it is precisely the tension between liveness and mediation that seems to be attracting contemporary artists to classic performances, salvaging from their meager documentation a script from which to ask questions about authenticity and originality. As Mark Cameron Boyd points out in his article, "Performance Simulacra: Reenactment as (Re)Authoring," this logic can quickly lead to a dead end:
'It is this denial of the original, this re-casting of previously enacted performances as "new experiences," that introduces the final thorny summation of reenactments like Abramovic's as weak copies, drained of their specific time-based authenticity, that transform performance into vapid simulacra to re-place the real Being of the original.'
John James Anderson's review of MCB's work on Nov. 11, 2007:
"Mark Cameron Boyd has received his fair share of recognition lately for his chalkboard pieces: phrases or statements, written on alternating stripes of slate and tape, with tape removed, something he calls text bisections. What is revealed are half-strings of words that Boyd allows the viewer to sometimes fill in with an abandoned stick of chalk. They are ephemeral, require audience participation, involve looking and reading. The chalkboards might be too theoretical for the mall.
Created between 1998 and 2003, Boyd's work, currently on display at Galerie Ingrid Cooper, is a plausible step backward in time to what influenced the chalkboard pieces. Each composition is painting and decollage: an act of collage that involves cutting and tearing away from the compositional surface."
Bret McCabe's Baltimore City Paper review of the Sondheim Prize Semifinalists Exhibition on July 25, 2007:
"Mark Cameron Boyd's "You Are Engaging in Participatory Actions" and "A practice that definitely involves presence" were two of the most initially innocuous if ultimately dizzying works in the show. Little more than handwritten text on a chalkboard, it takes the brain a few minutes to recognize that what Boyd's doing is horizontally bisecting his text and inverting and rearranging it, yielding something that might as well be cuneiform for as indecipherable as it is. The pieces themselves are elegantly simple in concept and disarmingly resonant to take in."
John James Anderson's blog on LOGOCENTRIC PLAYGROUND, Nov. 30, 2006:
"Earlier this week I bumped into Mark Cameron Boyd at the Katzen, reworking his installation outside the museum. He currently has three of his chalkboards available for people to fill in. And some have in rather obscene ways. We talked about that briefly and he mentioned how he has to accept that some people are going to interpret his work differently than his intentions, and if he is inviting people to contribute to the piece he has to except and accept that. This is the polite and academic way to state that there are those who will vandalize."
Katie Tuss's Daily Campello Art News review of LOGOCENTRIC PLAYGROUND, Nov. 22, 2006:
"Washington area based artist Mark Cameron Boyd has been using his own deconstructed, re-contextualized sentences as the subject of his current body of work since 2003. Boyd's thoughtful, challenging pieces utilize "text as a language for painting" while questioning the accepted systems of meaning and conventional constructs of art and communication.
In the installation Logocentric Playground, currently on view at the Katzen Arts Center, Boyd encourages visitors to engage him in an unspoken conversation using any of the three blackboards in the first floor gallery space. The boards display handwritten, original text by Boyd in red and white chalk.
Employing painter's tape in his signature erasure method, Boyd obscures either the top or bottom of the upper case letters in each sentence. Crisp black lines alternate horizontally between truncated peaks of the letter "A" and severed curves of the letter "P." Bisected red words meet bisected white letters, one on top of the other, altering the artist's initial transcription.
A piece of chalk, but no eraser, can be found underneath each blackboard. Seemingly without hesitation Katzen Center visitors have picked up the artist's discourse.
Viewers have interpreted the inconclusive text by completing interrupted letters and adding words and original symbols above, on top of, and around Boyd's phrases.
Despite the interactive component of the piece, it doesn't require any contribution to the installation to appreciate the original enigmatic markings and the development of Boyd's relationship with the viewer and the piece over time.
Boyd plans on returning to Logocentric Playground at least once a week to remove, restore, and respond to his conversation partners. The installation's progress can be tracked on the artist's Web site. Logocentric Playground is on view through December 15, 2006."
From Karen Trimbath's review of TEXT at GRACE, May 9, 2006:
"Other works contain more overt textual influences, not just from conventional storytelling but also from seminal theoretical writings. Take those by Mark Cameron Boyd, who is influenced by Jacques Derrida’s writings on the fluidity of textual meaning as well as the symbolic power of Chinese calligraphy. Boyd has created a series of works composed of his own writings produced with Conté crayon on blackboard paint. Fluidity emerges in the way he has reproduced and rearranged the words so that they are cut in half and shifted apart, giving one the sense that a complete text is being presented but in an alien language. His exhibited works are variations of this technique.
“Meaning is in the system”—in which a black swastika (originally a Buddhist symbol) emerges from the shifting lines of text—most successfully reflects Boyd’s preoccupations. The work is reminiscent of hastily scribbled notes from an esoteric lecture, which seems fitting for this artist and educator. Other works present still murkier optical illusions. “The collection of signs” features the Chinese character for “love” (drawn by I Mei Chan, the artist’s wife), but the white paint used to create the horizontal stripes and character seemed overpowering."
From Michael O'Sullivan's Washington Post review of TEXT, April 7, 2006:
"Mark Cameron Boyd, for example, creates a kind of interference, slicing horizontally through lines of handwritten text and then rearranging them in out-of-sync stripes, so that the tops of words are paired with the bottoms of others. "Thoughts contain ideas (do not write them down)" he titles one of his pieces, in an effective evocation of the paranoiac, obsessively -- if not entirely effectively -- hiding what he's thinking. But it's precisely because of Boyd's game of hide-and-seek that we strain even harder to decipher the words. Of course, we can't fully, which is exactly his point."
From an interview with James W. Bailey, artist /photographer, on Black Cat Bone, originally published August 16, 2005:
JWB: "I'm cautiously reminded of the WORD virus theories of William S. Burroughs when viewing your work - the idea that the WORD is a virus that infects the human mind to automatically respond either favorably or not to the words that others use...Can you talk about the confines or restrictions of text and words as we commonly understand it and how you approach these problems with your paintings?"
MCB: "I am vaguely familiar with that idea, from reading Burroughs in my youth. I can make some comparisons
of his "word theory" to other linguistic theories,yet the crux of my work would be poststructuralist,
that is to say, I believe that the meaning of any word cannot be determined conclusively, and that meaning
is infinitely deferred. You know, signs, symbols, words are constituted by the system of representation
they reside in and, as such, their meaning is established within that system.
The idea that a word or a sign can have a negative or "bad" meaning is determined by its use through context
to suggest a "negative" connotation...Words and signs contain no true meanings in and of themselves but the
users of words can give it a "false" reading or meaning, depending on their own agendas and the word's framing.
One way that I'm dealing with these issues in my art is to embody a different content instead of invoking
the conventional and problematic meanings."
The idea that a word or a sign can have a negative or "bad" meaning is determined by its use through context to suggest a "negative" connotation...Words and signs contain no true meanings in and of themselves but the users of words can give it a "false" reading or meaning, depending on their own agendas and the word's framing. One way that I'm dealing with these issues in my art is to embody a different content instead of invoking the conventional and problematic meanings."
JWB: "What's in the future for you and this body of work?"
MCB: "I am investigating the expansion of my work into site-specific installation, setting up the walls
of a space so that my process becomes a performance, revealed as the works are being
I would also like to engage in interactive modes with the public, allowing people to
participate in my process as a way to begin a discourse about language as a system, and
about the lack of possibilities in communication using this system. This is the essential
thing for me, to use language, particularly writing, as both material for making
visual work and intervention into the processes of thought."
I would also like to engage in interactive modes with the public, allowing people to participate in my process as a way to begin a discourse about language as a system, and about the lack of possibilities in communication using this system. This is the essential thing for me, to use language, particularly writing, as both material for making visual work and intervention into the processes of thought."
Read the complete interview HERE
From Amy Watson's review of SEVEN published on The ARTery, August 3, 2005:
"The sliced texts of Mark C. Boyd's blackboard paintings frustrate the viewer's desire to read the words traced there. The pieces reflect on the impossibility of communication and the imprecision of written language. The blackboard background implies that the roots of our difficulties may lie in the manner we acquire these skills."
From John Blee's review of SEVEN in The Downtowner, July 27, 2005:
"Mark C. Boyd creates an intense automatic writing that becomes rhythmic pattern."
From Elizabeth Schlatter's review of Strictly Painting II in Art Papers, January 1998:
"A small group of paintings toward the front of the exhibition deal with
text as both a visual and a thematic issue.
The most arresting of these is Mark Cameron Boyd's
Deviled Blonde (1998) a full sheet of plywood covered with strips of
newspaper, mostly in an Asian language.
The title refers to a headline from a tabloid pasted at the top of the
work, and also to a few scattered images of women including one that looks
to be Ivana Trump."
From Ken Oda's review of 7th Street International II in KOAN, November 1997:
"Among my personal favorites: Mark Boyd's paintings in which he tears away
painted-on Asian newsprint to create well-balanced all-over
abstract expressionists compositions."