A painter whose subject matter is ostensibly the world of the carnival and cheap, tawdry restaurants.
But these paintings are pervaded by a mysterious psychological drama just beyond the conscious threshold, evoking not an escapist retreat into childhood but the haunting and melancholic frisson of the collision of childhood innocence and wonder with an ever dwindling, constricting adult world, where ghosted, squandered selves linger; the erosion of the self in a sea of false promises.
However their formal mastery and subtle echoing of their artistic antecedents bespeaks a compassion and restraint well beyond one-dimensional political posturing. Then again, like all serious paintings, anything said about them is probably a load of baloney.
Best to take a look at the work in question and like the judge said to the jury, “strike the aforesaid from the record”. Selwyn Rodda
Mark Ogge’s dreamlike paintings evoke childhood memories both dark and magical. Ogge, who also painted the façade for the Melbourne Festival’s famous Spiegeltent in 2001 and 2002, has long been fascinated with the iconography and imagery of the circus and fairground.
Ogge undertook a major comission for Melbourne’s Luna Park in 2008, creating a 60 meter mural titled One Thousand and One Nights, featured in the parks scenic railway. His recent work continues his facination with fun parks and circus life for which he is best known, while also delving into new subject matter exploring such biblical legends as St George and the Dragon and The Temptation of St Anthony.
A brooding disquiet is carefully embedded into all of Ogge’s work. Exploring the dichotomy between enchantment and disillusionment the artist invites us to step into his strange and sometimes frenzied environments. His dreamlike hyper reality is reinforced by the use of saturated colour and loose, visceral brush strokes.
Mark says of his work:
“ A central theme of the work is the dichotomy between enchantment and disillusionment. The transition between the childhood experience of the fairground as a wonderland of lights, colours, movements, and adventure, to the adult realisation of a more ambivalent reality, the cheap stuffed toys, tired old rides and stalls, junk food, and hard bitten showies. These works aim to convey something of both these ways of seeing.”
“The circus tents andthier landscapes are inviting, with all their associations of mystery and excitement from childhood, bu the absence of people and the sombre atmosphere suggests a loneliness. The tents allude to the self and the landscapes that contain them are the interior mood or feeling.”
1966 Born Melbourne
1989 – 1992 Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) VCA, Melbourne VIC
1991 VCA – Theadore Urbach Annual Award
1992 VCA – Fred Williams Award