Mark Laver’s visceral paintings of rural calamities begin as the blunt, artless photographs of personal tragedy posted on the internet by volunteer fire departments and small town police detachments. His interest in these anonymous documents of loss, gleaned from internet image searches, is the spawn of his childhood in a small town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Laver’s memories of this time are a balance of the ecstatic joys of youth, the aimless nighttime mischief of adolescence and the random, tragic events, both witnessed and experienced, that strike a community with a rural highway at its core.
These largely unpeopled paintings of the raging structure fire and the multiple car crash aftermath begin with the beauty of the rural landscape at night, the simple, fleshy pleasures of applying paint and end with our conflicting fascination and revulsion with scenes of destruction. Captured in a digital flash, the corpses of vehicles, as though dropped from the heavens or tumbled by a giant, confront the unspoken, inevitable tragedy of our own brief lives.