Mark Jenkins’ exhibition is running at Lazarides gallery. My personal favourite space of all the galleries. His hyper-realistic installations provoke a physical reaction and for me days of inner chatter where I was reconciling the themes. I am a fan of this artist because his brave engagement with the public, his work stands for something and comments on so much of society’s ills. The exhibition is complex and open-ended but I hope there is some optimism in the sinister hooded figure holding out flowers to be taken. This reminds me of a poem “Vultures” by Chinua Achebe” which talks of the human ability to love despite committing evil acts that kindness and hatred are somehow intriguingly and disturbingly enmeshed. “A kind of glow-worm tenderness encapsulated in icy caverns of a cool heart, or else despair for in the very germ of that kindred heart is lodged the perpetuity of evil”.
What appears to be faceless hooded children holding baseball bats or drawing war motifs in felt tip pen are arresting and haunting. A life-sized girl sits with her head in her knees as if crying in despair. Then there’s the blow up sex doll with the Edward Munch “It’s a Scream” replacing the face, with the product packaging branded “The Screamer”.
The white hand cast in plaster show a knife pointing towards the body which is wince-inducing as the mind processes the “moment of impact”. A yellow bird sits cutely on two long pointing gloved fingers, a canary can represent freedom, happiness and in some cases sexual ecstasy (when flying). The engagement ring being placed on the processed finger of a hot dog provokes a smile and then some more thinking.