Thursday, July 20, 2006

Reprinted from Monterey Herald

Off To The Office

Mark Bava's sculpture offers reflections on the rat race.

Jul 16, 1998

By Sarah Givens

Mark Bava’s work is unlike that of most Monterey-area artists. Instead of drawing inspiration from the region’s natural beauty, Bava’s work--at least the body of his work currently on display at the Sculpture House and Gardens in Carmel Highlands--focuses on the corporate-controlled, urban 9-to-5 rat race that detaches, dehumanizes, and de-individualizes people.

The Italian master, Giacometti’s influence is sometimes present. Several of Bava’s pieces resemble Giacometti''s elongated human forms, and even in pieces that don't follow Giacometti's style, Bava exhibits a similar penchant for experimenting with space and mass. Some of his human figures are shortened and broadened, even as they remain largely two-dimensional.

Bava leaves Giacometti's shadow, however, in the social issues he tackles. Whereas Giacometti may have explored how we visually perceive space, Bava’s work comments on the individual’s place in society today. His human figures, even those that are sculpted with a second human figure, exist independently of anyone around them. The image-conscious, money-centered, modern world has divided and conquered their souls. As he explains it, "There tends to be a lonely sentinel expression to my figures. The characters are ones who are sealed in their fate."

In his piece "Power Brokers," two businessmen stand side by side as clones. While their broad-shouldered business suits give them authority, there is no rapport between them; they are more business-suited drones than they are humans. Their heads are too small for their bodies, and they have no facial features. The somewhat flattened, two-dimensional quality of the figures completes the effect.

Mark Bava's work is currently on display at the Sculpture House and Gardens. A new, more abstract body of his work will be shown at the Monterey Conference Center beginning on July 26.