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Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Paintings of Mark Nutt - Inseparability of Life and Painting

I was drawn immediately to the paintings of Mark Nutt, who has three pieces showing in Still Point Art Gallery's THE Painting Exhibition. My being pulls in the direction of abstract art, anyway, and I am also fascinated with color...not that I prefer pieces with lots of color...but I like to see what artists do with color...or the lack of color. Mark's lavish use of a strong red in Promise and Fulmination asked me to pay attention. So I did and soon noticed some things I really loved. The strong red is just a tease...there are lots of other colors present in the paintings...green, orange, blue, purple, and more.  They are so well blended...one color just moves or flows right into the next...and the sense of movement, motion, flow, and vitality in these paintings is amazing. The way Nutt uses color and applies color creates palpable motion and energy on the canvas.


I asked Mark Nutt about his work as an artist and the pieces showing in THE Painting Exhibition, and he had quite a lot to say. It is no wonder there is such energy on his canvas... there is so much going on in front of the canvas.

Mark Nutt the Artist--
Creativity flows within me like a Roman tub faucet that cannot be shut off. It always has. Once I decided to paint for a living I focused that energy acutely and realized the spiritual benefit and nature of channeling that energy into painting—for me and others.

Collective life experience—living positively through impact of spirituality, Reiki, film, literature, food, art, nature, world travel, twindom and community building while surviving corporate America, cancer, coming out as a gay man following childhood clergy sexual abuse and through it all celebrating family—influences my work engaging myriad emotions. It's this varied emotional connection that draws individuals to my work.

Vivid color and radiant light create dynamic movement rich with wistful detail and ever-increasing depth—revealing truly intuitive painting. Spirit energy manifests while open vision permeates. Plein air landscapes emphasize luminous skies creating an ethereal feel. Composition, sculpture, art history and theatre design provide structure.
Why the medium of oil on canvas?
The feel, handling and lush quality of oils allows me to paint with verve and ease. Slow oxidation "dries" oils over longer periods of time allows touch-ups later, but more importantly continual mixing and blending of color. Stretched canvas accepts oils beautifully while providing a flexible ground on which to paint to really work the paint with brushes and palette knives—much more that acrylics ever allowed me. While I do paint with watercolors and/or oils when traveling or summer excursions, my preference firmly remains with oils. Freer expression propels the final durable product.
The inseparability of life and painting--
Painting fuels my life force. Yes, I find my creativity flowing in multiple directions. As a the Master Scenic Artist for Penobscot Theatre In Bangor, Maine and infusing various community and personal projects with stimulating design and artistic flair I rarely stop creating. But in my studio it's about painting abstraction—focused and unfettered. I breathe paintings to life. It's as if they emerge from my inner core being. One person described my process as the Universe using me as a medium or channel to create works that stimulate and heal. I agree. The energy that people sense in my work flows from within me and the Universe.

That's why I must paint. It heals me and others experiencing my work—particularly in person. The connection proves life-giving. Whatever my emotional state when entering the studio—once I paint my process heals me. I always leave refreshed and energized. It soothes, comforts, relaxes, energizes, stimulates and pushes me forward in my life journey like the air I breathe. Since I began truly painting for myself, the act and I have been inseparable.

My creativity melds spirituality with expressionism in painting. I paint because I must—to heal myself and those stimulated by my work.

Promise (24x12), oil on canvas, $1175
Fulmination (24x12), oil on canvas, $1175

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
April 1, 2010

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