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The Essence (2017)‘Hurrah! The wonderful @flyingleaps2016 and @chunkymark are working together.’ So tweeted activist comedian Mark Thomas at the news Artist Taxi Driver has collaborated with flyingleaps to produce a new artists’ poster print. The Essence (2017) combines two distinct strains of Mark McGowan’s 2D artwork. He often paints singular critters: amazing bees; profanity cooing pigeons; feisty or forlorn rodents; conscientious cats; hedgehogs; hares and that ridiculously cute spaniel wearing a Greek Fisherman/Leninist Cap watercolour emblazoned with the arguably quixotic call to arms: Cockers for Corbyn. But along with the witty, melancholy or coruscating cast of animals McGowan also makes awed skyscapes of star-studded firmaments, brooding vistas and subtly mystical, almost Edenic garden scenes… The Essence (2017) brings the singular exhortation to ‘bee amazing’ together with lush, confident swathes and filaments of colour: ‘the essence of the world is a flower’, a far from cynical celebration of the natural world. Look closer still and there’s even hints of a transcendental presence – never spelt out but clearly perceptible clues as to a profound spiritual disquiet. Much more than a ranting provocateur, considered as a whole McGowan’s artistic voice(s) amount to a profound, progressive and conscientious promotion of human, animal and planetary wellbeing.