There’s a great article in this month’s issue of Blue Canvas, a quarterly magazine that is distributed worldwide and features articles and interviews with some of the finest artists around the globe. The article that I mention concerns the work of Mark Reep, an artist who has shown at the West End Gallery since 1995 and lives in Lawrenceville, PA. It’s a wonderful article that focuses on Mark’s process and the motivation behind the mysterious places that populate his unique artistic world. It shows several pieces of his beautiful black and white work , including two full page images. Just a great opportunity for the rest of the world to see the work that the folks around here have been lucky enough to have right under our noses for these last 17 years.
I have always felt a kinship with both Mark and his work. We started showing at the West End Gallery around the same time and our work was different than much of the other work in the gallery at the time, both of us focusing on landscapes that originated internally, based on creating a world based on feeling and emotion rather than one that represented the world around us.
Mark’s pieces were moody and mysterious small pieces, meticulously crafted with a laborious stippling that created magnificent depth and detail. They rewarded the viewer who stopped and deeply pondered the work with a stillness and quiet that was almost spiritual in its nature, all the time filling you with questions. Where does that path lead? Who lives in that stone house perched atop that high cliff? How do I get there?
Over the years, there has been an incredible consistency in his vision, even as his process has evolved and the world that he portrays has expanded. I never get the sense that his created world is not real because of this great commitment. As a result, his world is always distinctly his own, something I really appreciate and struggle for as an artist.
I have to admit to being awestruck by Mark’s work over the years, perhaps more than any artist I have ever shown with. And that includes some truly great artists. Maybe it’s because I know of his commitment to this work, his unwavering belief in it. Maybe it’s because I see its timeless appeal, something that makes me believe it will only become stronger as the generations pass.
Maybe I don’t know exactly why. But I am thrilled that Mark’s work is being seen on a worldwide stage. It is well deserved. I have often felt that we took his work too much for granted on a local level, that we didn’t see the diamond in our presence. And his work is a diamond.