Born 1969; Maryland, USA
Mark Hatfield is a self-taught artist with a strong background in figurative work. After his first solo exhibition in 1995, Theology in Color, Mark began to break down the representational forms in his subjects. The simplified figurative works led Mark to create a series of nine paintings entitled The Soul Paintings. These works were exhibited in the artist's next solo show, Love Lit a Fire in My Chest. Each of the nine soul paintings represented one month in the life of his soon to be born son. The unseen vitality of his child inspired his work to move toward the language of pure abstraction.
The first abstract works were grounded in Hatfield's strong understanding of color, range of technique and masterful drawing. In 1999, the artist's use of saturated color shifted to black conte, charcoal, gesso and only tints of oil color on black paper. His painting He Bites broke ground for a series of paintings known as The Black and White Series, which includes works such as Oracle and When men ate the bread of angels.
The Abstract Expressionist Grace Hartigan graciously gave Hatfield a critique in 2000 and noted his bold painterly use of color and drawn line. Hatfield moves comfortably between the color work and the work Hartigan described as his "close value" paintings.
There is allusion to landscape in works such as Somewhere I've never travelled and to figurative form in works like Three ring brain and a circus heart. However, these references are merely implied and simply employed to support the abstract composition. Hatfield has placed numerous works over his almost 30 years of painting and in 2014, nine of his paintings were featured in an editorial for Architectural Digest Italia.