Mark Cazalet has been making artwork in response to his visits to the small hamlet of Les Bassacs in the Luberon Valley, Vaucluse for nearly 20 years. This beautiful location has captivated his imagination with its brilliant light and distinctive aromatic fragrance.
The architecture of the woodland has been a reoccurring theme for his work, influenced by the Romantic English landscape tradition as well as the poetry of Philip Larkin, Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost. In his new work Mark Cazalet aims to capture a sense of place, both in the contours of the landscape itself as well as in the subtler emotional essence of his memories.
Six years ago, during a teaching excursion to Les Bassacs, he began working at dawn to draw the effects of the first rays of the sun on the foliage. In the evenings, after his classes were over for the day, he found there to be a good moon, so at night he continued drawing. This habit of dawn and dusk drawings formalised into a routine over that period.
He took to the idea of imagining that the dawn drawings were a kind of Matins focused around a song of thanks for a new day, Mary’s Magnificat. The Dusk drawings were equally a leave taking of the light and celebration of a day closing. They became Simeon’s Nunc Dimitis.
These meditative intentions made the works into a kind of graphic mindfulness exercise, a period of contemplation at the beginning and end of the day. The results of this period of ritualised working will be showing at Curwen Gallery this May.