Marv Newland: Marv Cards
September - October, 2010
Marv Newland's MARVCARDS are hand painted postcards sent from various locations around the world during a period of over ten years. The cards are watercolour painted scenes with hand stenciled addresses. Cards are generally sent to friends and fellow artists, a tradition amongst artists for many years. Initial inspiration and influence includes painted postcards and letters of: Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Max Jacob (1876-1944), H.C. Westermann (1922-1982), Saul Steinberg (1914-1999), Jacques de Loustal and the postal art traditions of: Irene Dogmatic, Anna Banana, Corpse Club, The New York Corres Sponge Dance School of Vancouver, General Idea and Ed Varney. Many of the cards are carnet de voyages of animated film festivals attended by Marv Newland, whose primary occupation is the making of animated films. Marv's short film, POSTALOLIO (2008), is made up entirely of hand drawn animation traced onto blank postcards, painted, stamped, mailed and then computer scanned to create the final motion picture.
The subject matter of the painted post cards includes: landscapes, seascapes, portraits and images drawn from the imagination. The works are of a casual nature and are created with the intention of entertaining and edifying the recipient. Most of the cards on display here were sent as 'markers' by the artist back to himself. There are two reasons for this practice: upon receipt of the 'marker' it could be assumed that similar cards sent to others had also arrived, and the card creator would receive postage stamps and cancellation marks carefully selected and arranged by the artist in the countries from which the cards were sent. There are many cards which were painted specifically for travelers willing to obtain postage stamps in foreign countries and then send the cards back to the artist. Many times these cards would arrive months later beautifully stamped and from exotic destinations never seen by the artist. A very few cards were sent to postmasters in remote locations, pre-stamped for return to the artist. One example would be the card from Tristan da Cunha, a small island country isolated in the South Atlantic Ocean halfway between South Africa and Tierra del Fuego.
Outside of the MARVCARDS on display there is a selection of watercolours which have not been sent through the postage system. These paintings in most cases pre-date the first MARVCARD painted postcards. The subject matter here is also made up of landscapes, seascapes, figurative and imaginary work. The paper used to create the larger works is of higher quality, as is evident by the clearer washes and brighter presentation of the pigments after drying. In most cases these paintings were made on location. The less representative images were painted in the studio, or in dark rooms of unregistered institutions.