If you want one of the rarest bismuth crystals in the world, here it is!!! It was amazing seeing this creation come forth from the molten bismuth. Simply massive in size at 566 grams, and 4 1/2” by 4 1/8” by 3”. It has gorgeous pastel colors of greens, pinks, oranges, yellows, purples, blues, browns and golds.
Facts and strange things about Bismuth - "I grow all my own bismuth crystals out of 99.99% pure bismuth. The growing time is about 1 hour. Ever drink Pepto-Bismol? Well if you have, then you’ve swallowed some bismuth. Don’t be afraid. Pharmaceutical applications are one of the main uses of bismuth. Bismuth is the 83rd element on the periodic table of elements. It sits just to the right of lead. Which means it is a bit heavier then lead. Because it is non-toxic, bismuth is now being substituted for lead in shot gun shells. No more contaminating our ponds with lead. Bismuth also has a low melting point which is why it is used in overhead sprinkler systems". [Read More]
You need to find the right window to get fully inside of Mark Powell's art. Or maybe it's a perspectival thing—maybe it's more about finding the right angle, the right alignment of your head-meat and the work. Any multi-celled organism can look at his illustrations and recognize a ridiculously skilled portrait, and probably feel wowed by the fact that it's all done in biro pen. The crux of it though, lies in interrogating the relationship between the drawings and the antiquarian documents which hold them.
You can float around for some time trying to establish those connections, and I don’t think there’s ever an easy explanation. In interview, Powell has stated that there’s always an aesthetic correspondence between the old document/map and the subject of the portrait, maybe as subtle or private as something the person said connecting to the object, or a more concrete visual correspondence between the two. The trick, the window you have to find, is this “why” that glues each piece together. You have to comb through each wrinkled facial line, through the objects’ sometimes incomprehensible text, and feel around for the artery they share.
In the above interview, Powell is asked why he focuses on elderly subjects and never children. His response, for me at least, is that perfect window into his corpus: “[t]here’s no character or sense of history in a child’s face.” Aging, the absorption of time into matter, is the skeleton key for all of it. It’s art of extreme, spotlit temporality, art that amplifies the omnipresence of information at the core of physical human life and the artifacts it unceasingly produces. Powell’s genius lies in folding and redoubling this process, partially eclipsing an heirloom with a heightened vision of the weathered humanity it implies.