Mark Rice – May 2016
Most works are project-based and created in a series that seeks to balance elements of visual and historical research with an intuitive instinct to draw and interact with specific, sometimes unexceptional, subject matter.
Voyage Corps Store was created as the exclusive vendor of Voyage Corps Gifts. Voyage Corps Gifts are playful test products and experiments that are created in small editions, using mostly recycled materials.
Voyage Corps Store is a mobile and modular pop-up experiment in commerce. VCS has been displayed in many ways over the years, from TV trays, to picnic tables, to a 1971 Shasta Compact travel trailer. Though the form might change, the vision is the same. Visitors enter the store, peruse the inventory, and, if they liked an item, purchase it at an affordable price. These purchases then inform a semi-serious research into the marketability of these works of art.
I am a drummer and have toured with musical groups, many times designing and creating their promotional materials, albums, and clothing. Voyage Corps Gifts and the Voyage Corps Store offer the “merch table” experience in an art gallery setting. In its previous incarnations, the products have worked as sketches and mockups for future works in print, sculpture, and installation. The store works as a proving ground, test market, and fundraising venture to simultaneously offer affordable art, raise money for future projects, and gauge public interest in experiments utilizing different materials, subject matter, packaging, and presentation.
The current installation mimics both the salon-style hanging of paintings in 19th century art galleries and the visual frenzy and eclectic, sometimes “slap-dash” organization of dollar store displays. These spaces, both old and contemporary, over-stimulate the viewer in the space, making concentration and reflection more difficult.
The materials that I use are sourced from all over. Thrift stores, auctions, dumpsters, and off the ground. The Resource Exchange is great if I need specific items, but I have happened upon many a great find while visiting. I buy repeatable items like the packaging for products, but also materials that I use in more traditional methods, such as printmaking paper and tools, frames, fabric, paint and wood for sculptural works.
Mark Rice is an artist and musician living in Philadelphia, PA. He grew up in Indiana, receiving his BFA in printmaking at Indiana University in 2003. Rice is a touring musician with many different musical groups. He founded and maintained a cooperative art gallery and performance space in Bloomington, Inidiana called Art Hospital from 2005-2009. In 2009, he attended the Rhode School of Design, receiving his MFA in printmaking in 2011. Following graduation, Rice was artist-in-residence at Hub-Bub, an 11-month experience working with an independent art and music venue in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He then served as adjunct instructor of art history and drawing at University of South Carolina Upstate and other area community colleges. He currently works as the printmaking instructor and product designer at the Center for Creative Works, a non-profit vocational day program for adults with intellectual, physical, and developmental disabilities focused on therapeutic creative expression located in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He exhibits his work locally and regionally and performs in the band Telepathic.