the broad


Mark Tansey
oil on canvas
85 1/2 x 96 in. (217.17 x 243.84 cm)
Robert McKeever

Mark Tansey, Wake, 2003



Mark Tansey's, "Wake," It’s a very personal painting for Mark Tansey. The painting is actually dedicated to his father who had recently passed away.


The painting is a series of images that apply to the term "wake." We see the wake of a boat in the water right in front of us, painted on the canvas. It's also the wake for Tansey's father.


The last reference is to James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake." James Joyce, the author, appears a couple of times on the canvas, most notably through an anamorphic drawing in the water itself. So, when you look at it from the front of the canvas, it's kind of a blur. But if you stand to the left of this you’ll see, that the wake in the water becomes a face.

To the left on the canvas, there's a group of people that are sitting. That grouping of people is found before in Jean Renoir's "The Boating Party," which is a very famous French impressionist painting. Tansey has replaced the boating party with his immediate family.


Tansey can source from so many different places, whether it's movies or magazines or newspapers. He's assembling these fragments of visual material. And the narrative itself that he's trying to paint is kind of a fragmented narrative and they're all unified in this consistent, beautiful, monochrome image.