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“Building without passion is like accepting a peck on the cheek  as lovemaking.” 

Statement

My sculpture and furniture are rooted in the fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and flower gardens of my youth. Pruning, raking, and picking fruit, plus helping my mother plant her vegetable and flower gardens, were part of the seemingly endless chores of my youth. It wasn’t that nature inspired me, but rather that nature was an integral part of my life. It was only natural that my work evolved from those small wonders in the orchard and gardens.

When I left for art school, I swore I’d never eat another piece of fruit, let alone walk through the grocery store produce section. But as I created work at art school, I gained a new respect for all the chores my parents gave me over the years and eventually got over the fact that my three sisters never had to so much as pick up a rake or pick one lousy apple.

I had no deep desire to be an artist; I just liked making things, but my work drove me down a one-way, circuitous, bumpy path to the art world. When I saw Wendell Castle’s Douglas Baker dining table, which flowed downward from the ceiling wall, it was a “come to Jesus moment” for this Jewish kid from Chicago. I ended up studying under Bobby Falwell, a graduate student of Wendell’s, and began my conversion to artist.

His Story

Mark creates with solid woods for their intrinsic value, virility, and rapidity of execution. The grain and beauty of the wood have little influence during the initial design process. He visualizes new work in matte black and believes that if a piece has a presence draped in black, is executed with deftness and passion then the inner beauty of the wood will take flight.

Most of his work is built using the stack lamination process, where smaller pieces of wood are glued together to form much larger blocks or "blanks". The stack lamination process provides strength, scale, and endless artistic possibilities. Once the blank is completed, he roughs out the work with chainsaws and automobile disk grinders. As the final form emerges, he tapers to more delicate power tools and finally hand tools to define the details and sumptuous curves.

Training

Mark learned woodworking in junior high school industrial arts and had his first commission, a blanket chest, while a high school senior. At college, he studied under Bobby Falwell, a graduate student of Wendell Castle. Immediately upon graduating college, Mark opened his first shop in Evanston, Illinois. In 2012, after a few decades, detours, and zigging when he should have zagged, he set up his current shop in Albuquerque, NM.

Selected Exhibitions & Awards

  • Mesa Arts Center, 45th Annual Crafts Exhibition, Mesa, AZ, 2024

  • Western Design Exhibition, Jackson Hole, WY, 1st Place Woodworking, 2023

  • Corrales Old Church Show, Corrales, NM, 1st Place Sculpture, 2023, 2022, & 2021

  • Mesa Arts Center, 40th Annual Crafts Exhibition, Mesa, AZ, 2019

  • Custom Woodworking & Design Portfolio, 1st Place Specialty Furniture, Handel Leaf Desk, Chicago, IL, 2013

  • Furniture with Soul, Featured Artist, Devon, England, 2011

  • Cincinnati Art Museum: Outside the Ordinary, Cincinnati, OH 2009

  • Mint Museum, Autumn Leaf Table, Permanent Collection, Charlotte, NC 2007

  • HGTV Modern Masters, Featured Artist, Denver, CO 2006

  • Materials Hard and Soft, Denton, TX 2006 & 2019

  • American Crafts Exhibition, Evanston, IL, 2006

  • Smithsonian Fine Craft Show, Washington D.C., 2005 (Accepted 2006 & 2007 but did not show)

  • SOFA Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2005, 2006, 2008

  • Marigold Arts, One Man Show, Santa Fe, NM 2002

  • NICHES Award 1st Place Furniture, Baltimore, MD 2002 and 2003

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