2019 "ConTemporary Black Tie Event", - an exclusive event in Los Angeles, Ca by Truman Marquez

The event, ConTemporary was held at a 2000 square foot loft in the arts district in downtown Los Angeles, owned by the Artist Truman Marquez.  

ConTemporary is an exclusive black tie networking event focused on providing an opportunity to meet and interact with a board cross section of prominent members of the contemporary art scene.

Some of the guest included: K.J. Baysa, co-founder and chairperson of the Honolulu bi-anneal, Carol Caroompas, artist and senior professor at Otis College Art & Design, John Peterson, art collector, philanthropist, and commercial real estate investor, Meg Kranston, chairman of department of Fine Art at Otis College of Art & Design.

Inside the Studio of Truman Marque by Truman Marquez

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His unusual aesthetic and the grandeur of his pieces set him apart in Austin’s local art scene, while his deep appreciation for the classics, combined with his high standards and sensibility towards visual arts in modern times, make him an artist to be observed by generations. Eclectic Vignette deeply admires and invites you to marvel at the work of Mr. Truman Marquez.

The first time I walked into the studio, my jaw just dropped. I had to see the paint and brushes to believe that these paintings had been done by hand (rather than using a computer). Nothing short of amazing, “My Turn” (a commanding 10 foot-tall masterpiece on display in his studio) just popped out, asking to be touched (which, of course, I had to stop my 3-year-old from doing). Intricate, profound and imaginative, Truman Marquez’s works are breathtaking testaments to his unique perspective and extremely hard work. Although the artist admits that he has recently let narrative take a back seat to technique and scale, every piece truly tells a distinctive story and invites the imagination to construct onward. Somewhere between the incredible amount of brush strokes required to complete each painting, and the three- dimensional success of each one of his shapes, lies his aesthetic genius.

“It is hard to get a Truman Marquez image out of your mind. A Truman Marquez Painting essentially speaking is meant to resist comprehension. Yet it comes out at you frenzied. It pummels you, it cajoles you, and it tumbles along, happily assuming its roly-poly poses.” - DF Coleman, New York, NY

It’s mind-boggling to me how a blank canvas can end up looking like that… It’s no wonder that the unyielding identity forged in his work has caught the eyes of some of the biggest names in the modern art scene. You have to see it to truly grasp it. These paintings are not only highly complex, but some of them are gigantic gateways to new visual horizons. Keeping in tune with the transcendence of space and time in his work, his ample studio inside the Flatbed Press not only evokes unequivocal simplicity (which I assume is an essential starting point to his great creations), but also provides a mass of blank space for visitors to step back and begin the process of truly taking it all in. The concepts of movement, energy, perspective, and color are evident factors to this artist’s heightened pictorial intelligence.

AN INTERNATIONAL ARTIST IN OUR OWN BACK YARD

With the longevity of his career, the evolution of his technique and the amazing reviews received from international art critics, Truman Marquez is one of the most accomplished visual artists in Central Texas. Over the last 30 years, he’s taken his work on tour to New York, Los Angeles, Japan, Hungary, Italy and Spain, among others, to some of the most prestigious venues (such as the Lindberg Gallery, Span Art Gallery Invitational, Infusion Gallery (LA), the Florence Biennial and Salon des Artistes, just to name a few). He’s extremely proud to have his piece “Impadronirsi Immortaliata” as part of their permanent collection at the Flint Institute of Art in Michigan (where the works of other great artists such as Matisse are featured); as well as his “Yellow Violin”, on display as part of the Chelsea Hotel Collection in Ney York. He’s been praised by some of the best art critics in the United States and is truly an innovator in his field. He’s represented in major cities by none other than Carole Ann Klonarides, an international art consultant, named one of the best art curators in Los Angeles.

“In an age of high definition and digital imagery, the paintings of Truman Marquez are of such volumetric and optical form, that they appear to have been created on the computer screen rather than with oils on canvas. Essential to Marquez’s pictorial strategy is his ability to organize patterning with spatial perceptions of movement, animating the forms as if under extreme pressure within the frame and giving each picture the experience of time rather than narrative” - Carole Ann Klondarides, Los Angeles, Ca

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A SIMPLE MAN

Before one of our sit-downs, I saw Truman pull up to the lot in his pickup truck – not his usual car – followed by “Sorry for being late, I had to go catch some horses that got out of their cages.” If you hadn’t seen a picture of him, you probably wouldn’t know this guy has the cosmopolitan flair of a West Coaster, bottled in the heart of a Texan. Truman Marquez is not an eccentric; he’s not flamboyant in any way. He’s a simple guy who’s genuinely pleased with his beat-up flip phone and permanently attached to his little coffee pot. His laid-back attitude and the unintentional coolness to his voice pair very nicely with the endless hours of conversations he could strike up about art history, trends and travel. He’s got some fun back-story too. Although he graduated as a doctor, he hated being considered “a doctor who liked to paint” – as he has put it – “I wanted to be taken seriously as an artist.”

According to some followers, Marquez showed early promise as a painter, and in 1978 entered the studio arts program at Georgetown College in Kentucky. Although his academic career shifted towards medicine, he continued to pursue his art over decades and has developed into, arguably, one of the most powerful painters of our time. Fast forward to today, he is currently living in Round Rock with his adored wife and two kids.

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‘I’M AN OPTIMIST’

His longstanding career as an artist, plus having traveled the world and meeting top artists, not only equips him with a special sensibility towards art and skills that are foreign to the Texan art scene, but also fill him with hope for the future of local modern art. “Sure, there’s a certain sense of entrepreneurialism and risk taking in my work, but I’m an optimist, and Austin is becoming more sophisticated and more cosmopolitan.” In all, his paintings are something Texans are not really used to, but patrons here can’t be entirely faulted because there’s no real point of reference to them.

To local galleries and art consumers, coming into Truman’s space and experiencing his works in person for the first time is, as he so cleverly described, “the equivalent of when Indians saw those first ships on the horizon”. It must be said that this is in no way meant in a pejorative fashion, but rather as an affirmation of innovation and an attempt to introduce something completely out of the norm, worth patience and effort to broaden horizons and establish real value.

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Although Truman’s work is surprising to most here, he admits that this kind of experimentation with technique and the amplitude of scale is somewhat expected in vanguardist cities such as New York and Los Angeles, as well some places in Europe. “I’m just trying to keep up with what’s going on in art worldwide while trying to open those doors for myself and other local artists. Austin is becoming the hot spot in the United States and the world, one of the places to be. I’m excited to help the arts grow and see those trends and expectations flourish in Central Texas.”

“Marquez is a consummately sophisticated painter, steeped in the traditions of modernism, yet irreverent enough to take poetic liberties in order to forge his own postmodern path throughout the thicket of art history. His admirations for Gauguin and Picasso have always been especially evident even as he took his elders with an almost oedipal zeal” - Ed McCormack, New York, NY

2008 "ConTemplate" MIWAA, New York, NY - Multi Level Performance by Truman Marquez by Truman Marquez

Artists and collectors alike often speak of the last great “movement” in art and the next. Perhaps the “movement” we are in the midst of today is the “Commercialism Movement”. No matter what the astronomical price of the week, we can rest assured it has been artificially driven and inflated by the “king makers” ie. the dealers who guarantee auction houses a minimum for contemporary works sold to establish a market value. While this new paradigm sets the monetary value of fine art, the quality of the art is diminishing. The investment angle has become more monumental than the work itself in our pervasive commercial society. Collectors are buying art with the hopes it will increase in value. They're looking to inflate their egos by owning the next best thing even if they don't like it, respect it or understand it. It is no wonder artist are going of the deep end and making works with dung and bodily fluids or desecrating and gifting art. Buying art for too many is no different for some than buying real estate to flip or commodities trading. As an artist there are days when I’d like to erase the word “market” from the English language and as the recently appointed promoter for painter, Truman Marquez, I understand the art market – like it or not.

I came across the Fine Art Adoption website at DC Art News and found the public gifting of art conceived by NY artist, Adam Simon to be a revolutionary concept. It is a site which hosts portfolios of a select network of artists offering works available for adoption. This has brought an experience from last fall to mind when I met artist, Truman Marquez. It was at his sophomore solo show at CAN NY where the paintings exhibited were deconstructed at the opening. The attendees removed segments of the works with artist issued knives and templates exposing works behind the canvas and leaving the works in ruin on the walls. This public gifting art marked a turning point for Marquez also disgusted with the commercialism of the art world. He, like the creators of fine art adoption are just a few of the many artists and collectors who are disgusted with the “Commercialism Movement”.

THE PERFORMANCE

It was with an authoritative gesture and a sharp blade that Marquez began the performance of his last experimentation with performance art. With irreverent authority he looked away from Call me Horse for Now while cajoling the audience with synthetic exhilaration he made the first decisive and expansive incision. The sound of the canvas tearing resonated like a mortal scream or the first cry of a newborn. Simultaneously the death of the painting surface gave birth to the newly created dissected and deformed works with wall text and secondary imagery. His year’s accomplishment hung mutilated before him as did his psyche when he surrendered control to the audience. This public gifting of art was undoubtedly disturbing for Marquez, exposed and incapacitated, as he and months of his most expressive work lay vulnerable to the desecration before him. The unabashed audience began to remove random pieces of the first canvas and four others with the provided templates and blades. While many coveted the forged segments referencing the masters, Gauguin, Cezanne, deKooning and Pollock, others became more noticeably intrigued by the secondary works beneath the paintings which emerged with each cut. It was not the deletion of imagery but the addition of the windows which became more vital to the performance and the work as sub-messages in the form of wall text, found objects and paintings relevant to each piece were revealed with successive cuts.

The addition of the secondary plain in Context, contrary to the pure evisceration of work in the first performance, ConTemplate - 2006, contributed a new dimension both physically and intellectually. The participants rewarded with possession of each painting-ectomywere duped as it was evident the nothingness left behind possibly had more relevance to the finished piece and henceforth a greater significance. The removed segments became diminished out of context and of meaningless importance, henceforth value.

Marquez surrendered himself through the sacrifice of his work (a metaphor of the physical artist’s body and psyche) as an eager audience with disregard enthusiastically carved with a growing hunger like a feeding frenzy of piranha. A few participants abandoned the templates all together and feverishly carved and threaded sliced strips of the canvas intuitively into slits while the greedy covetously removed multiple segments. In a statement Marquez said, “…the paintings are surrogates for the artist, his person, his thought, his creativity. Offering up the canvases to be cut, the artist, metaphorically speaking, offers himself.” This intense emotional experience marks a psychological purging necessary to more clearly define himself and his impending work – a catharsis.

THE WORK In Severed Voting Fingers Marquez implies a possible conclusion to the Iraq war. The fallen soldier lying dead in the shadows of severed fingers is a metaphor for the ineffectiveness of Western intervention. Furthermore, as a reminder of hopelessness, the crouching Iraqi woman severing her own “voting finger” along with others before her whose severed fingers on the bloody floor cast the shadows, speaks to the fear and uncertainty of democracy and surrender to insurgents. The wall text reveals the number dead and wounded (possibly in vane) while the surface of the painting accentuates dispiritedness of human sacrifice.

Call Me Horse for Now: The artist incorporates the segments of deKooning, Pollack, Gauguin and Matisse before which are being taken by the figures with jousting poles in harlequin garb who surround a horse (representative of Marquez) charging through the center of the painting. The horse, analogous to the artist seeking direction as he charges away from the painterly elements referencing art history.

Kalashnikov Orb: Nail Rain Series: The depiction of Christianity under threat. A praying figure of a monk crouches near a corner in the shadow of an enormous orb with the lifeless body of Christ appearing in the surface of poles attached to its surface. Within the shadow of the orb’s poles is a hidden image of a Kalashnikov rifle referencing the violence of fundamentalist religious fanatics suggesting the doom of Christianity while nails are weightlessly suspended in a space without gravity of a surreal world.

METAMORPHOSIS The works of Marquez are compelling on their own exclusive of the performance incorporating the audience deconstruction. Socio-political and religious references swathed in surreal, optical illusions with an emphasis on an intriguing physical and intellectual perspective form a haunting beauty juxtaposed with disturbing grotesqueness. While the deconstruction aspect is essential for the revelation of the supportive work beneath, one might view the performance reprehensible as the unscathed work is significantly compelling on its own. Furthermore, the egregious desecration before preliminary consideration of the imagery is disturbing. Concealed imagery and the consequent artist intent is too easily misunderstood and then in a fleeting moment the ephemeral paintings are gone.

The performances were initiated as a psychological experiment to strip the artist of his control rendering him defenseless and exposed to reach a better understanding of self and artistic direction while perpetuating the public gifting of art and making an important commentary on the "Commercialism Movement". Normally paintings and artists are venerated, untouchable and guarded against mutilation but like a self-inflicted torture, Marquez watched while participants took control allowing himself to become completely exorcised to ultimately reach a catharsis. Marquez’ temporary psychosis spawned by “Contemplate” and “Context” marks a departure as he is resurrected to redefine Truman Marquez.

Carnival Vertigo in the Work of Truman Marquez by Truman Marquez

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It's hard to get a Truman Marquez image out of your mind. A Truman Marquez painting essentially speaking is meant to resist comprehension. Yet it comes out at you frenzied. It pummels you, it cajoles, you, an it tumbles along, happily assuming its roly-poly poses. Notwithstanding the veneer of Marquez's aggressively surrealistic, vertiginous, fun-house atmosphere that confronts the viewer in the preliminary stages of beholding the work at hand over time something haunting, even unsettling, permeates the work. This is the result of the artist's highly sophisticated pictorial intelligence, which recognizes the value of indicating spatio-temporal involutions reminiscent on some level of the teasing work of Escher's in order to draw the eye and the mind to the space of possibility that can only be aroused by enigma and paradox.

The artist's overall idealogical ambition is to frame philosophical issues, which obviously compel him. These are set within an order of the mind intent on circulating questions around the designations of sameness and difference, separateness and integrated ness, volition and the involuntary, destiny and fate. The artist is compelled by the presence of emerging (or emergent) energy; his intention is to bring into visual play visual analogies that refer to the affects of causality, as well as to the condition of dependence/interdependence/independence and to human agency itself.

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In Moral Divide, for example the artist magnet to incorporate the sensation of game-like space being co-habituated by floating globe-like structures. Their sieve-like opening s allow us to peer within each sphere into a private domain. Depictions of books, gravity-less, hint at the insinuation of culture gone mad, of rationality now viewed as irrelevant and incidental as tumbleweed whirling through ghost towns of yore, while natural laws are held in abeyance. This is a tough work, as it seems to be intent in depicting interior frames minds, caught adrift. It is work, which welcomes uncertainty and approves of unpredictability. It is a topsy-turvy, gravity-less world, which is depicted. The sensations of floating, separating, permeable membranes, evoke the anxiety-ridden condition of being adrift in an ocean of time-space. This is depicted as exhilarating on one level yet one is clearly open in terms of being seen, open to the judgments of others. In some way Hold the Emperor Accountable deals a bit with this theme: the notion of exiting our everyday world and entering a continuum of non-separation from the thing around us, being those things and those thing being us.

In this image Truman Marquez allows us entry into a vision that signals the emergence of a new world. This work has internal words within it obvious for all to see, yet these internal folds in time and space are co-existent and self-contradictory, simultaneously. Marquez implies not only that the spatial body is dynamic and that this dynamic is the very condition which allows the world to become manifest in and through consciousness. In a board sense Marquez depicts a determinate world where objects can begin to co-exist simultaneously. The artist teases out another riddle from this presupposition. He seems to be questioning the very condition of dynamic spatiality and effect on the body. Here I use the body in both its narrowest and its widest sense; body of being, human body, body of mind, space, thought, time, etc. Is the body in control of its own physical destiny (or determination)? And if so how are we to picture the indeterminate horizons (both internal and eternal in the sense of physiological and in terms of outside stimuli) which signal to becoming manifest to us that the world is emerging.