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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Reep’

Mark Reep Issue -Blue Canvas CoverThere’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.

Mark Reep - Stone of Turning

Mark Reep – Stone of Turning

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.

Mark Reep-  All the Silent Years

Mark Reep- All the Silent Years

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.

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Ramshackle Review

Mark Reep, who I’ve featured here before,  is a truly gifted artist, one who toils in the world of black and white art producing stunning imagined landscapes from graphite and ink.  His work, always moody and thought-provoking, is filled with thousands of marks upon the surface  and takes a lot of time to produce. I repeat- a lot of time.

Yet, despite this drain on his time and energy, Mark  somehow finds time to edit an online literary and arts journal, Ramshackle Review, which premiered this past September.  It was started as a showcase for literary and artistic work to run alongside comments from the creators about the process used.  There is an interesting interview with Mark in the Start Up section of Zine-Scene where he describes the evolution of the journal and his goals for it.

In the first two editions there is a wealth of poetry and prose from accomplished writers from all points as well as intriguing artwork from extremely talented artists.  Interspersed are short interviews that Mark has with the creators.  I’ve spent some time going through and plan to head back in later to spend a bit more.  Interesting stuff.

Kudos to you, Mark.  Well done. 

Good luck!

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I’ve been exhibiting at the West End Gallery for over 15 years now and have benefitted in many ways. It was the first place I showed and sold my first piece of work. It was the first place my work was showcased. It was the place that first gave me hope of doing what I love as a career and has served as a jumping off point to other galleries.  So many other things as well. But perhaps the greatest benefit may have been what I have gained from observing the work of the other artists there over the years.

I’ve talked here and in my own blog of how artists from the Corning area such as Mark Reep, Marty Poole and Dave Higgins,  have shaped how I work and how I see my own work. Another such artist is Treacy Ziegler who has shown her collagraphs and, more recently, her paintings at the West End for many years now.

From the moment I saw Treacy’s work many years ago, I was intrigued. I instantly recognized that she was doing with her work what I wanted and didn’t have in my work at the time. Her prints had great areas of dark and light contrast and even in the lightest sections, a sense of darkness was always present which gave every piece real weight. Her bold colors and striking contrasts gave even the simplest compositions a deeper feeling.

They were also immediately identifiable as Treacy’s work. You could see a piece from across the street and you knew whose work it was. She has a very idiosyncratic visual vocabulary and her shapes and forms react beautifully with one another in the techniques she uses in producing her work.

At the time, my own work was still very transparent and very much watercolor based. With Treacy’s work in mind I started adding layers of darkness in my own way. Simplifying form. Enhancing contrast and color. All the time searching for my own vocabulary, my own look.

I’ve always maintained that artists are often more like synthesizers than creators. They absorb multiple influences and take what they see in these influences, merging them together to create something that is completely different than the original. Sometimes not even reminiscent of the influencing work.  For me, the West End has always been a great source for ideas and concepts to absorb. It may be in a certain brushstroke or the way a painting’s composition comes together or just in being exposed to a certain artist’s body of work for a long period of time. Whatever the case, I always find something in the work there that sparks new ideas within me.

And that has been a great benefit…

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I’ve written recently about the upcoming Little Gems show at the West End Gallery in Corning, a show that has a lot of meaning for me as far as being the jumping off point for my career.  I also really enjoy this show,  just to see other artists’ work.  It’s always interesting to see how artists who more often work in larger formats  handle the challenge of working on a smaller scale.

Here’s a great example from Marty Poole.  It’s a beautiful little 6″ by 8″ painting, a wonderful  example of his great ability with color and light.  The face of this child just glows on the panel. Marty is well known nationally for his large landscapes with broad, evocative skies as well as for his figurative work.  His handling of paint is remarkable in any genre.  He very seldom works so small so this show presents a great opportunity for collectors to pick up more affordable pieces from an artist whose work is widely sought.

Another aspect of Little Gems is allowing artists who normally work in a smaller format to show their work on equal footing, as far as size, with artists who works’ normal sizes would dominate the gallery walls.  It allows their normal work to really shine.  Here’s a great example called Last Bell from Mark Reep, whose meticulous black and white small works are always filled with ponderous atmosphere that belies their size.  Just beautiful work.

Then there are artists who take this opportunity for small works to show a different side of their talent.  Such is the case with Wilson Ong who is perhaps best known for his sublime portraiture.  His small pieces are whimsical tiny (in the 2″ by 3″ range)  paintings of animals in unlikely situations. Here are two of my favorites:

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As I said, this is always  a great show to see really talented artists working on a small scales.  Stop in and see these gems.

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Mark ReepThis past week or so, on his blog, Dreams In Black and White, artist Mark Reep has documented his progress in finishing the piece shown here, The Nightingale’s Garden.  I highly recommend that anyone interested in the artistic process take a look to witness the effort and dedication required to achieve work of this caliber.

I have been a fan of Mark’s work for many years now and am constantly impressed with the quality and inventiveness of his work.  He has a look and technique that is his own and when I’m looking at his work I really get the feeling that I am looking at  the inner workings of his mind.  There’s an obsessive quality to the work, a sense that you know that work like this can only be produced by someone that is completely immersed and devoted to the vision.  There can be no half-hearted efforts with work this intricately and meticulously detailed.

Beautiful stuff.  

Mark is one of those artists who have been so consistent at such a high level for so many years that  his work is sometimes taken for granted by the people in our own area.  I don’t think they realize what they have in front of them, that these are pieces that will stand out for generations to come.  But many savvy collectors from around the country recognize this in his work and have made his work part of many fine collections.  Deservedly so.

You can see more of the work of Mark Reep by clicking on the link in the list to the right or go his blog by clicking on the  image of his above.

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New Links

Still- Mark Reep I recently added a few useful links to this blog so if you’ve a moment, please check them out.  The piece to the left, Still, is by artist Mark Reep.  His works are painstakingly crafted and incredibly evocative.  I have always admired his work.  His site and his blog are chock full of info about his work, the process and much more.

Then there is the site of old friend Scott Coulter.  I have known Scott since I first started showing and he has always been most encouraging.  He’s a good guy and his photo-realistic landscapes are atmospheric and striking.  

Finally, there is the blog of Madara Hill.  The work is bold and full of color with a bit of whimsey and the blog is, like Mark’s, an interesting look inside the process of an artist.

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