Student Showcase: ​ As Earnest as I Can Be   
The Holy Biscuit 
23rd June - 13th July 2018

Filtering personal experiences through fantasy and fiction.

Ever since I was young I’ve had a fascination with fantasy and escapism; playing  make-believe as a child in the playground, or later in life being obsessed with video games,  books, or movies. This fascination has continued, and in my work I explore the use of these  fictions to help capture the complexities of the world, filtering reality through a layer of myth. I  hope to create something that is ‘true’, not in the empirical sense of the word, but true to life,  and experience. When listening to old legends, stories of great people or cruel tragedy, these  stories can often feel deeply more true to the experience of being human than many of the  products of modernity. Fantasy can sometimes feel more real than whatever news is being  broadcast across the world, whereas events that are watched by millions on the nightly news can  become a strange hyper-reality and feel alien to me.

There is however, an inherent danger in loving fantasy as an escape from reality. Escapism  can be a dangerous tool, one that can be easily abused in excess or used to obscure a harsh  reality. It can be easy to shield yourself from the problems in the world, or problems in yourself.  Even such wholesome fictions such as art and books may in some people become time  consuming obsessions.  

This exhibition is based on my life in Newcastle over the last 3 years, exploring my own  experiences and memories, with the help of fantasy. While the sources for these paintings are  numerous and often personal, they are heavily influenced by the stories I hold most dear. These  paintings both veil reality, and paradoxically aim to capture something through this obscuration.  In my paintings, and this show, I’m being as earnest as I can be. 

Mark Ragnvald Bletcher ​is an artist and painter, currently studying Fine Art at Newcastle University. Mark's work explores the relationship between: fantasy and reality, memory and forgetting, and the history of painting and the image. Mark questions human experience, and escapism, inspired by various fictions, from old stories to modern games. 

Holy Biscuit produces, curates and supports exhibitions and projects involving emerging and established artists, with a particular interest in socially engaged artistic practice as a tool for social transformation. HB is committed to asking questions about art, community and shared life through challenging, engaging art and socially engaged projects. HB supports artists and creative practitioners from all disciplines through providing exhibition and volunteering opportunities throughout the year.

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