Updated: Jul 6, 2019
Words by Carly Trinier
With no intention to impress or fully understand why it is he does what he does, Peter Marrack is surely one of the most unique artists in the city. Like the proverbial salmon, his work challenges our generations need for ‘pozy vibes only’ and our need for brightness. Instead of daylight he chooses night, instead of polished, he chooses degraded, and instead of boisterous self-proclamation, he is humble and quiet letting his work do the talking.
Marrack moves away from the tendency to make things beautiful. He prefers to see things as they are.
“Things breakdown, they degrade, and I feel contemporary art tries to hide that. I think this is more honest,” he says, quietly, playing with a broken drink coaster in front of him.
Inspiration comes from the graffitied back alleys of Parkdale. He enjoys the quiet that comes with being a night owl, but also the erratic and unexpected nature of the night. “I like art that doesn’t remind you of art,” he says simply. Darker industrial spaces, alleys, garbage, and graffiti inspire Marrack, “I like when art collapses and falls apart.”
Inspiration can come any waking moment, which, of course, is usually at night. He says, “[There is] no divide between work and life. What I take in I spit back out.”
His studio is an exact replication of that statement. Canvas’ and papers are rolled up or piled high on top of one another, covering most of the space. The wall is lined with the day’s work while yesterday’s finds its way to the infinite piles to be forgotten. Art is all day every day affair for Marrack.
Most of his work is based in black, contrasted by exposed canvas. From a distance, his pieces look simple, cohesive, but as you move closer, they reveal a whole world of intricate designs, patterns, and often words that are impossible to decipher from a distance. It is an ode to his nature as an artist; the dichotomy. His work is simple, but detailed, harsh, but soft, thoughtful, but also inspired. Maybe this is why it is hard for Marrack - and any interviewer - to define him. Despite his obvious style, the rest could be redefined or contrasted at any moment. Even with its harsh nature, Marrack’s art is less anarchy than evolution and a necessary break from the norm for us reality starved millennials.
His work has not gone unnoticed as The Guardian has recently put out a piece on him and Grolsch beer has used some of his pieces in one of their upcoming campaigns. Today, most of Marrack’s work is featured at Only One Gallery on Queen West in Parkdale and you can expect to see a new photography exhibition he’ll be showcasing there sometime this summer.