Mark Spencer: Drawn and Tempered

Date September 30, 2009 at 10:00 PM

Author Editor

Publication THE magazine

Categories Performing Arts


October 16 to October 30
Skotia Gallery, 150 West Marcy Street, Suite 103, Santa Fe. 820-7787
Opening reception, Friday, October 16, 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

One of Santa Fe’s best-kept secrets among long-time connoisseurs of local painting, Mark Spencer has never been prolific at producing canvases for commercial consumption. Finally, Skotia Gallery has coaxed some two dozen new works out of Spencer for his upcoming solo exhibition, Drawn and Tempered. The artist describes his work as “Neoclassical Surrealism;” viewers may call it what they wish, but it is easily recognized as formally brilliant and undisputedly rich in its physical presence, as well as its layered content. Spencer learned the craft of painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and takes inspiration from a wide array of artists including Dadaist Max Ernst, Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco, Francis Bacon, and ancient Greek sculptors. Draftsmanship lays the foundation for Spencer’s paintings, which frequently feature a gigantic cornucopia-like spiral of swirling energy that seems to threaten obscured figures against a background of foamy seas or ravenous flames. This artist knows his art history, and it is not a stretch to discover more than a little something of the French Romantic painters in Spencer’s work— Eugene Delacroix’s Death of Sardanapalus and Theodore Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa come to mind. Along with several large oil paintings on canvas and panel, the exhibition will include the Whirlwind Series, a cycle of exquisite works on paper.