Artdeal Magazine is a touchstone for artists; what it means to choose a life devoted to art, and how to survive and flourish as such. It provides sanctuary. This blog will do as intended; offer a running commentary, a little reminder, a yes for being an artist!
Monday, April 15, 2013
Being There: Martin Mugar's Fire
In the cold wintery gray of Boston, even as we approached the Bromfield Gallery on Harrison Ave, me and my friend, the painter Larry Deyab, were off to see Martin Mugar's new show, and we caught the bright warm glow of it from the outside and from way off. It was unmistakable. Like some mystical experience calling us. Some beacon of hope. It radiated this choir-of-angels light like some magic cave in the side of a stone mountain. Martin Mugar's work is like that. Elvish stuff. Again, magic.
Martin Mugar at Bromfield
As we got closer we could see him through the large windows, standing in the middle of his fire, in the flame of it, waiting for us at the center of the gallery, surrounded by his work. The wizard Martin Mugar. I've always said this about his work. That the energy, the light in it, combusts like some cold fusion machine, the particles circling around inside it until it reaches that critical mass and explodes. But some things have changed in the new work, and these changes have moved the experience along in a way that amplifies what we have come to expect from him.
Make no mistake, as physical as the work is, like sculpture almost, these paintings are a highly aesthetic, even spiritual epiphany from the word go. They are not, as they have sometimes been described in the media, a candy-coated, Willy Wonka pleasure ride, although the pleasure is there for sure, and physically they resemble taffy and chewing gum. That is their worldly form. It might be difficult to get beyond that for some, but when you get still with them, look at them, see them, listen to them, hear them, let them work their magic, well then, you get carried off into space, catapulted into the stars, like some hyperdrive, and will find yourself floating in some consciousness that is another world. The world of Martin Mugar. A rare world. A world like no other.
And that is it. That is the true meaning of originality. The work takes you to a place that you have never been before. To a world with as much attention to detail and experience as our own. Some might accuse the work of being obsessive, as though he was gilding some lily. But his devotion to the work is the necessary attention paid to creating something complete, evolved, seen through in a way that doesn't just drop the viewer off on another planet, but makes sure that that aesthetic experience is sound and true. This is a vision. A generous vision. A loving vision. A lofty and masterful vision of great beauty and poetry and intelligence and feeling.
Martin Mugar at Bromfield
The abstract nature of the work allows for that lofty vision. It is not candy land. It is that ultimate place of enlightenment and light. It is the climb to the top of the mountain. Each painting is a step. The thick waxy pastel paint couples together, compounds, like drops of water coming together to form a tsunami, diffusing, to flood the painting and the viewer in a symphony of music and light, to lift the viewer up like an El Greco into the ether, onto some higher plane, into the heavens.
Larry Deyab, John Wronoski, and Martin Mugar at Bromfield
Standing there with Martin, surrounded by his paintings, was like standing in the flame. Another friend, the rare books dealer John Wronoski, joined us. We basked in the work. We stood and talked and it was as though we were in some ethereal turkish bath of fire. Healing while it danced around us. And Martin was happy. And why wouldn't he be? Everything he worked for was working, for all of us, beautifully, like Swiss clock-work. All of that hard work. All of that hard seeing and sensitivity to the tint and temperature and hue and chroma and movement and juxtaposition and direction and correspondence of color, mark, texture and composition. It all came together. It all meant something. It all had a purpose, and we were all lucky enough to be there.
Spring Hill 2013
The Bromfield Gallery, Boston, Ma; January 30 - February 23, 2013