My June Show

Friday June 1 (6p-9p) and Saturday June 2, (6p-9p) I have two shows at Alpine Fine Arts, 826 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, 80204 in Denver's Art District. 

These are shows that i am looking forward to for a couple of reasons.

A year ago, I returned home after a month in Morocco.  An experience that greatly changed my work.  I couldn't paint fast enough, the ideas poured out. It was very exciting.

I couple of months ago, after several winter shows, i reviewed my original work and suddenly thought.. wow i now find this work really boring.

I began to revisit works that i was quite proud of a year ago, and i began to change the work.  By change, i do not mean whiting it out and starting over, but rather adding a new layer that i had never really added before. A layer of melodic details that, to me, feel more like notes in a song.

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This show will represent a lot of this work and i hope you can join me on one of these days. You can also check out this work on this very site's homepage.  

Best, 

Mark

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Live Responsive Painting with Ricardo Deolivera

Friday, at the closing reception of my recent art show, I had the great pleasure of making two live responsive paintings with Ricardo Deolivera. Ricardo, a Denver native, is a master with the palate knife.  A master that is 35 years in the making.  I think i've been painting for 25 years.  He and i met at our opening reception at the Alpine Fine Arts Gallery on Santa Fe.

As i admired his work, so different than my own, i challenged him to a duo. Live Responsive Painting. Responsive painting is an exciting, risky, cooperative art making process. With a blank canvas, two artists go head to head, taking turns, in a chess-like manner. No one wins, but when each artist is up, they own the painting and can create or change anything.  Together, the two decide when its time to stop. The first time that i tried this was in Morocco in March with Australian artist Niccy Pallant.

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We started our first painting with zero discussion of intent or direction, this allowed for fast reactions. Painting from the gut. He refers to his process as pushing paint, but he paints with a poetic gesture. Too bad I clobbered a lot of his poetry with an aggressive reaction.  He, in turn, triumphed beyond that and moving us to a strong, bold image.

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There was couple that came into the gallery right when we started. They were headed out to look at other galleries, and returned about 30 minutes later.  By the time they returned, we were just finishing up.  They bought the 24"x36" painting as it was still dripping paint onto the floor.

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With the first painting completed and our egos full, we started immediately on a second painting. This one was smaller, 20"x20", but things took a very different turn.  This was a bolder move and i think our best one yet!  It is also for sale, so let me know if you are interested! We will no doubt do this again.

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Contact me for details - mlesser64@gmail.com

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tomorrow: 1st Friday Reception, Jan. 5 at Alpine Fine Arts, Denver

There will be a First Friday Reception, January 5th at Alpine Fine Arts, in the Art District on Santa Fe. This will be the closing reception with a LIVE painting event. First Friday Art Walks run from 6–9 pm. 

The show, “Wall Whispering, Morocco” features paintings inspired by my artist residency in Morocco during March of 2017.

During this time, there will be a LIVE RESPONSIVE painting between myself and Denver artist, Ricardo DeOlivera (ricardodeolivera.com). 

Responsive painting is an exciting, risky, cooperative art making process. With a blank canvas, two artists go head to head, taking turns, in a chess-like manner. No one wins, but when each artist is up, they own the painting and can create or change anything.  Together, the two decide when its time to stop.

 A shot taken before the December 1, 2017 opening reception

A shot taken before the December 1, 2017 opening reception

 Wall Whispering, Morocco #32, #35

Wall Whispering, Morocco #32, #35

 Wall Whispering, Morocco #40 3"x4" 

Wall Whispering, Morocco #40 3"x4" 

First "Wall Whispering, Morocco" show in 2 weeks.

I returned home after a month in Morocco and a week in Lisbon. I must have taken 200 photos of aged and chipped walls. Translating these images to a painting, was a journey.

The Moroccan walls have a history. You can see it, if you stop long enough to look.  The layers of paint showing the years. There were scratches, markings, graffiti, drips and chips, you could see the time it took to age.

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The process of making this work is not all that different.  There are layers of paint showing the years. Many artists describe this as a process of building, destroying, and building again. The work cannot be created in one solid block of time, so I work on several at once.

There are 40 works completed for my first show in Denver. I am still working to finish more for December 1. If not, there will be new work to add to the shows that follow. 

You can view some of this work here.

There is a lot going on over the coming months that i would like to share with you.

ALPINE FINE ARTS GALLERY
December 2017 to January 2018
Opening Reception, December 1, First Friday, 6pm to 9pm
First Friday Reception, January 5, 6pm to 9pm

This will be my first exhibition in Denver.  If you are not familiar, the Art District on Santa Fe is the hub of the Denver art scene, featuring 30 participating galleries, artist studios and restaurants. This is the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado.

Alpine Fine Arts Gallery is located at 826 Santa Fe Drive in Denver. http://www.alpinefineart.com

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Art Basel, Miami
December 7 to 10, 2017
https://www.artbasel.com/miami-beach

I am excited to return to the 16th edition of Art Basel, Miami this year. There is a lot of great new work coming in and I don't want to miss any of it.  Also, I am excited to be reunited with Australian artist, Niccy Pallant. We met during the artist residency in Morocco, and collaborated in a live responsive painting session. Who knows, we may even do a live painting from Miami. Niccy is soon opening her own art experience in Morocco.  

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ARTISTS ON SANTA FE GALLERY
February 2018
Opening Reception, February 2, First Friday, 6pm to 9pm

If you are not familiar, the Art District on Santa Fe is the hub of the Denver art scene, featuring 30 participating galleries, artist studios and restaurants. This is the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado.

Artists on Santa Fe Gallery is located at 747 Santa Fe Drive in Denver. http://www.artistsonsantafe.com

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Opening Reception, Feb. 2 at Artists on Santa Fe Gallery, DENVER

There will be an Opening Reception, February 1st at Artists on Santa Fe Gallery, in the Art District. The opening reception is Feb. 1 and runs through the month. First Friday Art Walks is from 6–9 pm. 

The show, “Wall Whispering, Morocco” will feature paintings inspired by my artist residency in Morocco during March of this year.

The Art District on Santa Fe is the hub of the Denver art scene, featuring 30 participating galleries, artist studios and restaurants. This is the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado.

 Close of Wall Whispering, Morocco 36

Close of Wall Whispering, Morocco 36

The Creative Process-Part I

I remember feeling some pressure. "What happens if I have no ideas." I wasn't worried about how I stood with the other artists from all over the world. I had not met them yet, and new little about their work.  But, I knew I was going to Morocco with no preconceived creative notions. In fact, anytime I had an idea, I mentally threw it out. I would remain a blank canvas for as long as possible.

Buddhist and meditation books will state that thoughts and emotions will pop up while you meditate. You have to then let those thoughts go, rather than focus on them. Then, return to a blank canvas. I suppose it is like that for me.

For two weeks, I felt the impact of being dropped into a foreign land.  It was an assault on the senses. Eating breakfast, meeting the artists, running around the city without getting lost, seemed enough for one day... for way too many days.

I was excited to visit the studio for the first time. Review my space, look out the window at the vendors below.  Frankly, I was more excited about the sun on my face from balcony outside my window.  I sat there like a cat for quite some time.  The sun from the roof was even better. Though two of the artists were always up there smoking. A day later, the sun left for days on end. It was wet, chilled to the bone cold. I had already experienced a very cold, reluctant winter in Colorado.  I was done with that feeling. I had wished the desert was closer.

By now, the artists had been shown the city and its resources. Some of the artists were already setting up their space and were quick to work. All my fellow artists saw in my studio was an empty desk with no artist present.  Personally, I saw no point in sitting there.  To work on what exactly?  My blank canvas continued to be just that.  Had I gone too far with this meditative blank canvas thing? Shouldn't I be working on something by now?  I've been in Morocco for two weeks already. 

I had reviewed Matisse's Moroccan work, when I was in New York and online.  But this was the equivalent of a child hanging onto the edge of a swimming pool when learning to swim. Let go!

Back to the studio. Still no interest in spending time.  Perhaps it was the lack of privacy, or an inability to blast my music, or the disinterest in searching for materials in the city to get started, or the bizarre tight reign on blue tape in the studio.  It's tape!  "I am out of here, see you tomorrow. Maybe."

I went back to my Riad, Hotel Reducto for lunch and a nap. When I awoke, I decided to walk the streets and learn my way around.  Explore, get into something, an adventure. I walked through the Medina toward the old Jewish Quarter.  I walked through some very narrow streets which led to neighborhoods of homes.  I began to notice these buildings and walls. They seemed like hundreds of years old. How are they still standing?  

On the walls, which people pass daily without ever noticing, I began to notice abstract fields of color. I am not talking about graffiti from artists, but rather decades worth of layers of color, markings from children, scuffs, chips.

"Unofficial and non-commissioned signs and images on the walls have always existed.
They bear significance not only for their makers but also set strong signals
for the viewers - bones of contention and impulse for
discussion since the Stone Age." - Johannes Stahl, Street Art 2013

When I decided to spend one month in Morocco, i did not know what would spark inspiration.  I knew that the chaos would be a big factor. I had no idea that i would spend my time roaming the streets of Tetouan, Chefchaouen, and Marrakech photographing the walls of Morocco. i think i photographed over 200 images of exterior walls. 

Now that i am back in my studio, images of walls are pouring out.  I am not editing my work just yet, first i have get it all out of my system.  Then I will see what i have to work with... like big canvases.. maybe even wall-size.

You can go to the shopping page to see the collection so far. More to come...

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Opening Reception, Dec. 1 at Alpine Fine Arts, Denver

Opening Reception will be December 1st at Alpine Fine Arts, in the Art District on Santa Fe. The exhibit and will be available during the December and January, First Friday Art Walks (6–9 pm). The show will run until January 5, 2018.

The show, “Wall Whispering, Morocco” will feature paintings inspired by my artist residency in Morocco during March of this year.

The Art District on Santa Fe is the hub of the Denver art scene, featuring 30 participating galleries, artist studios and restaurants. This is the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado.

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