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The Marks We Make...

10th Annual Living Mark Artists share insight about their expansive nature and their particular "mark" on a substrate or material...


Rachel Kirk

"The abstract markmaking process guides my visual decision making. From the colors and materials I use, to the emotion and physical pressure with which I engage the page -- marks beget marks beget marks, and eventually, to my delight, an image appears."

Rachel Kirk

Fear and Self-Loathing I'd Rather Be in Las Vegas by Rachel Kirk

Madeline Penzel

"My artistic practice revolves around the mark of the hand and creating physical objects that represent me as a person. In my practice I use a lot of hand-based techniques such as hand-sewing, dyeing, and embroidery so my hand can clearly be seen in my work. I also use hand techniques as an opportunity to spend more time with the pieces I create as another way of making my mark on each piece. Mark making is very important to me and my practice, so that is why I was so drawn to the call 'The Living Mark'."

Madeline Penzel

House 2 by Madeline Penzel

Christina Bertsos

"My stone sculptures are a mirror and vehicle for the expression of my internal landscape. Each echoing a link to my Greek ancestors and primordial connection to stone as earth and physical life. The tools within my hands impose unique marks

that reverberate throughout my personal evolution as a woman and a being with a collective awareness of a story that is vast and mystical. I believe it is only through one’s passion that the veil of this mystery can be parted to reveal the depth that man is continually seeking to experience and understand. The

beauty of stone continually feeds my passion. In my latest sculpture “The Swam” I wanted to convey the power and strength of Beauty as personified in the female

figure and the symbolic representation of the swan intermingling as if one. In ancient Greek mythology the swan represented one’s soul."

Christina Bertsos

The Swan by Christina Bertsos

Cheryl Ramette

"It's the notion of 'mark' that intrigues me, and made me want to be part of The Living Mark exhibit many years ago when an artist friend of my mine said, "I have a piece of work in The Living Mark exhibit at Verum Ultimum." For the past several years I've worked with tea bags, watching them leave marks on paper, embellishing, playing with, enjoying those marks in their consistency and subtle variety, learning how the tea bag paper received color from indigo leaves and natural pigment inks. These marks were very different from my own intentional drawing or printmaking marks. They take a life of their own to which I find myself responding more than directing. Each day I delight in going into my studio to see what the tea bags are up to and to watch the colors shift, deepen, lighten, arranging the bags in various groupings and individual settings. "Are you finished with your tea bag phase yet", people ask. "Nope. The tea bag muse is still very much engaged", I tell them. It's so simple and yet yields such complex images. Plus I love taking something that would otherwise be discarded as a means to end and making it the center of attention, bringing a new perspective to marks of life."

Cheryl Ramette

Earthly Delights by Cheryl Ramette

Guy Boster

"We observe the world mostly without focus, because we are inundated with so much information. However, through my art, I try to give reference points to stop and gaze at beauty even though it's engulfed with peripheral noise, if you will. Lately, my mark is flowers, in many environments, both real and imagined."

Guy Boster

Triple Exposure 2 by Guy Boster

Susanne Tierney

"I cast marks as characters that sometimes seem numinous, obscure, playful or reminiscent of something ancient or archetypal. "

The very act of markmaking drives my work; evidence of the moment. Quick, now, gone...

Markmaking re-presents my ideas of the present, the past, and thoughts of the future... for me. Consciousness, myths, dream images all swirl around in my mind until they morph into a placement of relationships on the stage of the square or rectangle to stir emotions."

Susanne Tierney

U by Susanne Tierney

Carol Bivins

"My mark-making vocabulary keeps changing as I find new mark and new gestures. However, I almost always create circles in my work. Carved through the oil and cold wax or painted in. Something about the circle is part of my flow. Line, as well, is omnipresent in my paintings. Jagged, swirly, thick, thin — those

lines show up consistently. I like making them. I like the feeling of trailing along to see where the line wants to go. Making marks is how I free up my intuitive self. Intuition is how I begin each new painting and as the painting develops, a more analytic and painterly logic helps me resolve the work."

Carol Bivins

Deja Vous by Carol Bivins

Peter Evan Costas

“My constructed cartography-the mark and the art of doing nothing away from home.”

Peter Evan Costas

Improvised Cartography #2 by Peter Evan Costas

Sandy Lerman

"Like Cy Twombly, I feel that every line is the actual experience with it's own unique story."

Sandy Lerman

Nest 2 by Sandy Lerman

Karen Rothman

"My art is often a result of my mood of the day. Cha Cha reflects a joyful mood that guided my hand to expressive mark making."

Karen Rothman


Cha Cha by Karen Rothman

Ellen Zimmerman

"The idea of the exhibit – a celebration of the art of vision, of marks on clay – really spoke to me, because I enjoy making images that feel like rough marks, maybe formed by man or water or an unknown power. And that creates the mystery. For me, this image is like being in an ancient cave – a place that takes us back to dreams of sacred spaces, secret passages, even the entrance to the underworld. Perhaps minerals and acidic water dripped onto these walls to etch the marks and shapes, lights and darks. Maybe charcoal from fire, white from ground calcite, and brown from hematite are the sources of this natural color palette. The tones feel uncontrived, pure. And oh the warm brightness! It feels like the color of light itself."

Ellen Zimmerman

Prehistoric by Ellen Zimmerman

Susan Farnham

"The marks make their own meaning, coalescing into something I've seen before: flowers at night becoming mysterious globes when lit by the moon."

Susan Farnham

Moonlit Meadow by Susan Farnham

Michal Sagar

"Images find me. Asking to be realized they take me on a journey in which I wrestle to discover the nature of their expression. The Living Mark is a pertinent title to what I face in the studio, both losing the form and embracing the core to find the essential mark."

Michal Sagar

Aperture by Michal Sagar

Zia Gipson

"My interest in the "The Living Mark" derives from my love of the handwritten. I’ve mourned the declining era of cursive writing (and the declining numbers of people who can still read it) and found solace in the fact that in some cultures the handmade mark is still very important. My piece, "Message in a Bottle" is made from vintage Japanese pages. I’ve collected both printed books of many types and ledgers of accounts with the handwritten characters still evident. I’ve used Japanese, Korean and Burmese book pages in my art. Because I don’t read or speak Japanese or any of these languages I see these pages as pure abstraction, mostly black/gray letters on off white, mostly handmade-from-mulberr- shrub paper. These bits of culture are a visual language I cannot and would not want to decode.

Message in A Bottle by Zia Gipson

The invitation to The Living Mark also resonated with me because for some years I have been exploring written expression from many eras and cultures. I’m fascinated by asemic writing, a kind of calligraphic mark making with no meaning attached. I love writing that goes no where and makes itself open to what you communicate aesthetically. To quote Cy Twombly, “I work in an impatient way”. I arise every morning and beyond checking email, make my lists, make my art and organize my life with a fountain pen, a marker, very expensive pencils! and anything else that makes what I write more expressive than it strictly needs to be. Like Cy, I believe “To imagine a language is to imagine a form of life.”

Zia Gipson








Sudie Rakusin

The Elegant Line

"Humbly and respectfully, there is always the search for that elusive elegant line. The authentic line that contains integrity and grace. What is its imposing width or gossamer thinness? Its angle and curve? Its placement on a surface or its fluidity in space? And where does the line end, after-all? The line is worked until it says to leave it be."

Sudie Rakusin

“One must always search for the desire of the line, where it wishes to enter or where to die

away.” - Henri Matisse

Fractals No. 22 by Sudie Rakusin

Charlotte Daigle

I love the little worlds that art creates. Each work of art contains within it the mind, heart and hand, as well as the world view, of an individual. The artist says, Please feel free to enter! Come into my world and look around. The viewer enters and sees with new vision, finds new experiences within. An art work is able to touch the heart and lend the soul expression.

Charlotte Daigle

On the Move by Charlotte Daigle

Yuehan Hao

"To find the end that is rooted in a certain point in the limited life span, that is art."

Yuehan Hao

Lies in stopping Yuehan Hao

Jena Ataras

"When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."

Mama May I rest by Jena Ataras

Hilary Sheehan

"I was drawn to the “Living Mark” theme because my mixed media work involves a variety of layers, with each medium providing a different set of marks.“London” developed over a period of years, using many different techniques. The piece started with a hard ground etching print.Each mark in a hard ground etchings has the same darkness and width.In this etching I used stencils for some portions of the piece, and drew free hand to create variety of marks. A couple of years went by and then I brought the etching to a figure drawing session and drew a blind contour figure drawing in pencil.I really liked the contrast between the uniform etching marks and the improvised varied pencil drawing, particularly when I saw how the drawing had escaped the frame of the print. Then this year I remixed the piece yet again and added the map of London collage elements, adding color and movement- which finally made the work complete."

Hilary Sheehan

London by Hilary Sheehan

Earl Grenville Killeen

"Living marks us, inside and out, as it does all things. “I Am That I Am” is one of a series, called Mechanostalgia, depicting vintage gadgets and old rusted bicycles that have weathered time and use. It’s a sort of self-portrait."

Earl Grenville Killeen

I Am That I am by Earl Grenville Killeen

Richard Keis

"A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist."

Quote shared by Richard Keis

Teresita Sculpting by Richard Keis


James Pannabecker

"If artists can turn postmarked stamps into valued gems, think how they

could change the world."

James Pannabecker

“Art is the only truly free space in life, which cannot be bound by material or physical conditions.”

Piet Mondrian

Honey Pot Flower Garden by James Pannabecker

John Calabrese

Art (drawing) consists not only of content but more importantly of form. It's not so much what you draw, it is HOW you make the drawing!

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

Quote by C. S. Lewis and shared by John Calabrese

The Magnetic Field II by John Calabrese


Debbie Tracey

"Art is a reflection of the soul. Our art progresses through stages from young to old souls. Along the way, life makes many marks that influence who we are and this is reflected through art. My piece, "At Peace" is a result of those marks in life."

Debbie Tracey

At Peace by Debbie Tracey

John Affolter

"Mark making can be argued as an event that defines the genesis of mankind’s expressions of exchange. When an artist makes a mark on a matrix, they reify mans first scratches upon the earth who made trails through the landscape in the form of communication. It is the oldest form of human communication."

John Affolter

Truth by John Afolter


Richard Cutshall

"It is that feeling of resistance; the push and pull of the pencil on the paper (or whatever medium is at play) and that's why I cannot understand the value in or attraction to AI or any medium that does not involve the hand directly!"

Richard Cutshall

Relic by Richard Cutshall

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