Breaking Silence is a collection of works on paper that Mark Thompson has made in response to the landscapes of the extreme North. The artist has traveled extensively in Iceland, Scandinavia, and Alaska, exploring the territory that informs his work, often in extreme weather conditions. On the periphery of what is known geographically, Thompson hopes to reach the horizons of human memory and experience, to record these encounters on paper afterward.
“The work is, in a sense, an excavation of these experiences,” Thompson says. “Watching a storm building as I descend a glacier, knowing it will be a matter of minutes before I am drenched to the skin; tracing the paths of rivers across the tundra and exploring long forgotten buildings, feeling my boots punching through frozen crusts of snow.” These transient moments are recorded later in his work, where they have been filtered not only by memory but also by the very process of transcribing them. In these works, built-up layers of mixed media become not only the mists of the mysterious and uninhabitable North; they become too, the inseparable layers of memory that constitute subjective experience.