Letting Go: A lifetime as an artist transformed

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Photos by Katya Agatucci (Contact: kagatucci2@cocc.edu)

By Katya Agatucci | The Broadside (Contact: kagatucci2@cocc.edu)

A year’s-worth of artwork was thrown away when Mark Edward Fuller decided that the pieces created to be presented in March’s one-person exhibition did not speak to him.

The compositions that were presented were large paintings of different strips of wood that were all made and painted completely separately prior to Fuller putting the strips together and nailing them to a frame.

During the artist talk, Mark Fuller brought two pieces that stemmed the explosion of pieces that created his exhibition. “There were scraps from the framing and they had fallen on a small canvas in the garbage. I just started having fun for a couple of days based off of that. They kept evolving and kept getting bigger. The voice in my head told me that was where I was supposed to go, and I had one month to do it,” Fuller said.

“This is about one-third of what showed up last month. I did an eight-footer the other day. I can’t even get out of my door right now, but that doesn’t matter. They’re alive and they’re having fun. They’re bringing life to my studio and to me. They are giving me energy,” Fuller said.

The entire exhibition, showcased on March 15 in the Pence Pinckney Gallery, were all mostly made in the month of February of this year, according to Fuller.

“It was like a dam had just burst. I think I’m mature enough now so that it’s flowing, rather than making [art] happen,” Fuller said. “This is about letting go; this whole show is about letting go. I’m letting them have their own life and letting them direct destiny in some way. I’m still learning what they are teaching me about myself.”

Gary Vincent, a friend of Fuller and a fellow artist attended the opening, said “I am delighted to see this cohesive block of work that really, from my perspective, seems to share the whole history of his life so to speak. The art making is very intriguing, not to mention the assembly, how he puts things together I find them absolutely delightful to look at.”

An abstract wood piece titled Simultaneous Sequence, one of Mark Fuller’s favorite pieces in the show. “I see my mom in it. The little green stripe with the black and pink line, that looks like my mom taking a nap, when I was little. She used to wear green eyeshadow. She would be very happy about this show. This is a dream come true for me.”

Fuller said that he did not have an idea on how to compose each piece. He would just lay the strips that were made separately and rearrange them until they looked good to him. “At the end of the day I would sit back at the three or four paintings that I had made and just think, ‘What the heck just happened?’”

When it comes to the process of composing the paintings, Fuller said that just he built the frames and cut the wood. “When it comes to painting, I was just listening to music and not thinking. I get goosebumps thinking about it.”

“I think that there is healing in these paintings, for me and anyone who wants it. There’s a message in here that speaks a language that we might not be able to talk about or even understand. The gift, energy, health and vitality that they brought to me in my life by trusting them, the unknown process,” Fuller said.

Bill Hoppe [left] and Mark Edward Fuller [right] together during the artist reception.
Fuller started his career as an artist in Seattle with bold paintings that highlighted styles from pop icon posters, graffiti, and comic book art. Fuller’s pieces have been featured in collections of Microsoft and the Seattle Art Museum. Fuller has also been a past recipient to the past recipient of the Seattle Art Museum’s Betty Bowen award. “I was sort of a photoshop painter before photoshop painting, with the layers, because of my artistic sensibilities,” Fuller said.

Bill Hoppe, art professor and director of the art program at Central Oregon Community College said that the show has been very meaningful to him. “To me there is nothing really more powerful than a fresh exhibition and a set of paintings from an artist who is really looking at what is happening in the world and reflecting that so clearly in the attitude, the striation and the breaking apart to try to bring things together.”

This show was very important to Fuller because he has not shown his work in almost two decades. Hoppe and Fuller met through a mutual friend and Hoppe came to an opening that Fuller had in his studio and ended up offering him the show in the Pinckney gallery. “I’m glad that I took it because it is a beautiful space, Bill is a beautiful person, and this is a wonderful opportunity for me and I’m very grateful.”

Mark Edward Fuller’s abstract painting exhibition will be available until March 31 in the Pence Pinckney Gallery. ■

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