Looking at a painting by Mark Erickson is an experience in color and movement. Bright areas of pigment slash across a brilliant background or float above expansive landscapes. The viewer is gripped by an immediate and powerful response to the sheer explosion of color and the substance of the paint itself. Various areas of colors exist on what appears to be a vast assortment of planes. Some areas leap out and seem to float in front of the canvas. Others fall back, beckoning the viewer to enter further into the painting. The work is entirely original. The concerns are those of an artist fascinated by his own visions and ever mindful of the materials he employs. The work can be experienced as a kind of 'journey' in which one can encounter cool blue lakes and fiery mountains.
Mark Erickson was born in Hollywood, California. His early education was completed in California, Germany and Italy. He is a product of his experience on both continents and a family history combining the traditions of East Coast aestheticism and Wild West freedom. His mother and grandmother were New York artists. They studied under Hans Hoffman and knew Franz Kline before World War II. Erickson's father was an aircraft designer and pilot, his father's father a cowboy and a marshal in the Dakota Territory.
After attending college in Southern California, Erickson moved to San Francisco. He completed his education at the Art Institute, Academy of Art and the University of San Francisco. He has had one-man shows in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans and Carmel and has collectors from across the U.S. as well as Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, England, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia.
Erickson's work has evolved steadily and contains a confidence and maturity gained only by dedication and talent. Sometimes the paintings have a more urban energy with whirring colors flying across a brightly lit metropolis. The shapes, so perfectly formed, propel the pigment off the surface of the canvas. Erickson, transforming the flat plane, breathes life and depth into his paintings and pulls the viewer into the experience. He does this by modulating color against color and form against form in such a way that you feel you can travel within the work.
Erickson humorously refers to himself as a "blue collar painter". He has a tremendous work ethic and is in his studio nearly every day. It is easy to see his quick progression in experimenting with differing aesthetic issues and emerging with his own very original and individual voice.