Elegy #9

Elegy #9 – watercolor on translucent Yupo paper – 30 x 35″

Gebert Contemporary on Canyon Road here in Santa Fe is showing some paintings from my Elegy series.  The Elegies, in honor of my late husband Wayne Gibson, have been a way of resuming my art practice after Wayne died.  They are mostly black and white, with blue coming to predominate in the latest ones.  This is a particularly intuitive series in which I’m allowing feelings and impulses to guide me down some new paths.  Elegy #9, above, for instance, is simpler and more graphic than previous work.

I am honored and pleased to have work on Canyon Road once again – it has been nine years, I think, since EVO Gallery closed at that location.  Driving up the historic and lovely road has been bringing back some wonderful memories, and a sense of being once again in the “heart” of Santa Fe’s art community.  Gebert Contemporary has for some time now offered a premier roster of both local and international artists that I’m proud to join.

Santa Fe friends, you are invited to Gebert now and over the holidays to see this group show, which includes work by local artists Dirk DeBruycker, Ricardo Mazal, Munson Hunt, Grant Hyunga, Cov Jordan and others.  My paintings are in the old house, both first and second floors.  Enjoy the exhibit and have a joyful holiday season!

Elegy #2

SMINK in Dallas will be opening their Back + White show on Saturday evening, August 9th.  I sent  Elegy #2 to join work by Zachariah Rieke and other artists for what promises to be a stunning exhibit.  Elegy #2 is from an ongoing series of black, gray and white (or almost) paintings in memory of my late husband, Wayne.

Working with such a limited palette has forced me to focus even more on qualities of density and transparency, clarity and murkiness, dark and light. Metaphoric allusions can be read into the paintings, or not.  I confess that sometimes I do “read” them like poems, and sometimes as purely visual structures.

Once again, it feels appropriate to be using water to convey possible messages of grieving, loss and comfort.  Water is the element of the emotions –  the dreamy, stormy, moody or serene realm of Neptune – always changeable yet oceanic and deep.

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“After Wayne,” watercolor on layered synthetic paper, 41 x 41.5″

My husband and partner, Wayne, passed away in February.  It has been difficult getting back to work in the studio since then.  The art work was so large a part of our shared life.  I find that color brings up too many memories and only black and white feel appropriate.  This is the first of an intended series of memorial paintings.

Color carries messages and meanings,  suggests references, gives pleasure and sets a mood.  To be without color is a spectacular loss.  On the other hand, it presents a way forward, perhaps the only one for me now, and certainly one I will take.   Even without hue, the painting continues to move silently in its frame, evoking the rhythms and cycles of life, a series of breaths.

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Every once in a while someone says something about my work that absolutely floors me, and I know  I’ve succeeded in what I set out to do, which is to present the beauty of being.  Recently, Devon Lind wrote that “it’s as though the fabric of the universe is woven through your work.”   Thank-you so much, Devon, for putting into words what I have a hard time saying.   This painting, Driftwood #1, seems the perfect expression of her idea, with its vertical rhythms and horizontal visual flow.

LiquidStack #6

 

LiquidStack #6  –  36 x 35″ – watercolor on layered and sewn translucent Yupo paper

This coming Saturday, November 23, my 5th show with SMINK in Dallas will open  with an evening reception.   I won’t be there for this one, but if you are in Dallas, please come by to see the new work.   There will be more of what I think of as the “bars” paintings, like LiquidStack #6, above, as well as paintings with circle grids, the format I’ve been working with for several years.   As always, the paintings have a restful, flowing and expansive quality that I hope you will enjoy.

My thanks to the wonderful Smink sisters, Jennifer, Autumn and Dawn, for their constant support of my work!

 

Escalera #1 - Limited edition digital print from Santa Fe Editions

Escalera #1 – Limited edition digital print from Santa Fe Editions

Santa Fe Editons is publishing a series of 3 prints, the result of a collaboration between me and Gary Mankus, the printmaker.   Based on my watercolor work, they have been manipulated on the computer and printed on fine archival paper.   Santa Fe Editions presents work from some of Santa Fe’s best and best-known artists.  I am honored to have work in their collection. To see all three compositions go to santafeeditions.com

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Although the show is over, I am still considering the significance of this exhibit, which beautifully demonstrated the continuing influence of Modernism on the arts here in New Mexico.  This influence, abundantly present in our local galleries and museums, was one reason I moved to Lamy back in 1997.  I felt my work could be seen here in a context that doesn’t exist in Southern California, where I was living, nor in New York, where it has been all but superceded by more recent ideas like conceptual art, identity and political explorations and the celebrity art culture.

Cumulous Skies brought the work of over 30 contemporary artists together with the art of earlier 20-th century painters and visionaries like Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Agnes Martin, Marsden Hartley and Ansel Adams, who all spent signifiant time in this state, finding fellowship and inspiration here and influencing the path of Modern Art.  They, in turn, were influenced by Native American crafts – the Navajo weavings and pueblo pottery – and something about the landscape and clear light of New Mexico.  I don’t think the seminal importance of our “Land of Enchantment” has been fully realized by the wider art world.

Curated by artist Larry Fodor and supported in part by a grant from the NEA,  Cumulous Skies showcased paintings, sculpture, ceramics and video art from our varied constituency of Native Americans, “Anglos” from all over the country who have chosen to live here, and artists of New Mexico hispanic background.  It was a stunning display of variety and coherence.

Wayne and I had a lovely time in Sun Valley.  Andria Friesen and her gallery crew gave us a warm welcome, and Kaley Pruitt, the talented dancer who interpreted my work at the opening reception, presented dances that were spot-on and engaging.  My paintings are hung with great care and look beautiful in the space.  As a bonus, the Sun Valley Wellness Festival held a party in the gallery the next night, with face-painting and music.  Dara Mark evite

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We’re driving a cargo van full of paintings to Friesen Gallery in Sun Valley for my solo show there, which opens Saturday, May 25th.  One of the new paintings is LiquidStack #7, shown above.  I’m particularly excited about this show because it opens in conjunction with the annual Wellness Festival in Sun Valley, a multi-day event that draws a large crowd of folks who might be drawn to the peaceful, flowing qualities of my work.  In fact, Ketchum/New York based dancer Kaley Pruitt will be performing a piece in response to my paintings at the reception. I can’t wait to see what she makes of my work! Kaley is scheduled to dance at 6:15, so if you are in Sun Valley, please come by to see her.

I often describe my work as a dance with paint. The first moves are mine, as I brush on the fluid watercolor. Then the paint takes off on its own, flowing and settling according to its properties. Finally, I respond to the dried sheets of paint as I arrange them into a composition.

To view the paintings in the Friesen exhibit, click on the link to the gallery from the list on your left. At the gallery website, click on “artists,” then Dara Mark, then scroll down to see the individual works.

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This room, designed by Tracy Hardenberg, was chosen by interior photographer Michael Hunter as his “Photograph of the Week.” Although it was not intended to showcase my painting, Lamy/Shadows, I wanted to publish this view of my work in a congenial setting.  The painting was recently sold by Smink in Dallas.  Autumn Smink was as pleasantly surprised as I was to see it appear in Hunter’s publicity shot.  

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