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Mark Kang-O'Higgins

Kang-O’Higgins’ pedagogical philosophy at base is simple; “use it or lose it." All the technical information in the world is useless if the student does not practice their art. To that end, he encourages students to draw and/or paint as much as possible. His classes typically involve short practical demonstrations and brief lectures which encapsulate concrete examples of different techniques, followed by individual instruction while students work on their own piece. Kang-O’Higgins aims to perfect not only a student’s technique but also their visual and philosophical understanding. Group and individual discussions focus on awareness of historical precedent and analysis of how student work fits into the tradition, as well as wider contemporary debate. With an informal manner, Kang-O’Higgins fosters a rapport with students that nurtures confidence while offering constructive criticism of their work.

Kang-O’Higgins believes that learning is important at every level. He enjoys watching students grow in understanding as they develop self-awareness, confidence and maturity. When teaching art, Kang-O’Higgins insists that a solid understanding of the basics of craft are fundamental to the creative process. Art is a means of self expression: a language in which, to express oneself freely, a certain fluency must be gained. As an artist, the ability to master the basics of observation, drafting, painting and sculpting are invaluable to the production of art. Today many students and artists are needlessly mystified by such training that once was commonplace. Basic drafting and painting skills can be learned by anyone, regardless of their level of ability, especially if they are taught in a direct and simple manner.

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Artist's Statement
My work is firmly rooted in the figurative tradition. This has brought me work as a fine art instructor and as a commission portrait artist. I am interested in the human condition in both the physical and emotional sense. Much of my work is formally concerned with solid objects/masses in space. I am interested in how objects/beings unfold themselves in space, manifest themselves, and realize themselves as objects and beings, spatially and mentally. In short how objects and beings emanate as physical and mental energy. In my work I want to describe their presence, in every sense of the word: both presence as individuals or events and presence in relation to (or in juxtaposition with) other events and environments.

The synthesis of an individual consciousness with its surroundings and the interaction of different consciousnesses are of particular interest to me from a phenomenological and existential point of view. Recently my work was also concerned with masked or depersonalized intelligences – how individuals can, at times, find each other unfathomable in the Wittgensteinian sense. Specifically, that of one individual never truly being able to know the mind of another and therefore being forced into speculation. Most recently, however, the philosophical questions and issues that my work springs from and attempt to address have been tempered by my desire to additionally represent the simple beauty and mystery of creation.

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