Updated: Nov 6
Works by Mark Renner
On view OCtober 6 - 28, 2023
Age can often provide a gentle hill from which to view much of humanity without detection. The ornate plays stretched out before us in any given place—in the small crags of urban community, the cordial interactions on our streets, the pacific encounters in flora and fauna in the open surrounds of nature—all ceaselessly bring forth both celebration and lament. There exists in many of us an inability to articulate the ephemeral moments we subjectively find lasting. The works here are imagination-borne, but undoubtedly informed by subconscious references to the collected visual impressions of daily living. Distilling these glimpses, stories, and lessons has been an enduring continuance, a manner of Long Ways.
Mark was born in Baltimore and raised in the pastoral farmlands surrounding the small town of Arcadia, Maryland. From earliest memory, he found great solace in committing impressions of surrounding man and land to paper. Increasingly drawn to music, he invested many private hours in developing both his visual and musical voice. After high school and embarking in college studies, a growing disenchantment with formal art training and philosophical differences with instructors moved him to pursue an individual path, both visually and musically. His first one-man show, The Lost Years, came in the early 1980s in Baltimore’s historic Fells Point. The show featured twenty paintings and drawings, accompanied by an electronic musical installation. Many of the recorded pieces went on to form Mark’s first record, All Walks of This Life (TGI), and later his second album, Painter’s Joy (Restless/Dimension in the US; EMERGO/CBS in Europe). Later, in 1989, he would again couple music and visual work together again for his solo exhibition, Creatures That Die in a Season, at Baltimore’s Thames Street Gallery.
Throughout the next two decades, Mark continued to exhibit in the U.S. and abroad while self-releasing three full-length albums—A Desire for Forgetfulness, Goldenacre, and Memoirs of a Distracted Church Organist—as well as two books of lino-cut prints—The Breath of Everyman and Sweeping the Floors in the Temple of Life. A geographic relocation to North Texas in late 2009 provided new inspiration and maturation in music, painting, and printmaking. In 2018, Brooklyn record label RVNG released Few Traces, a double album featuring music culled from his early gallery installations. Since 2010, Mark has released four additional albums: Enduring the Going Hence, Seaworthy Vessels are in Short Supply, Salt and Firewood, and The Midlothian Gardens. His music has been featured on HBO’s Adult Swim and How To with John Wilson. He is currently working on paintings for his next exhibition and two separate books—Out of Place, a collection of drawings selected from his many sketchbooks, and Poet of the Exile, a book of prints based on the Old Testament book of Jeremiah.