Rachelle Mark (1945- ), born in New York, lived as a child in Utah and Los Angeles. Her interests started in psychology and teaching, which led her into social work, Montessori teaching, and the founding of an after-school academy of art for children. She also had a company creating hand-painted fabric for home environments. This included art for the floor, as in the early art form of hand-painted floor cloths. But it is Mark’s long-standing interest in painting that ultimately commands her attention.
Throughout the years, she knew that she needed time to build the psychological framework for her art. Before going to graduate school in painting, Mark began her family and busily raised two children. With the encouragement of her husband and children, she began the transition of creating visual work. Her stylistic journey would take her from such spiritual abstractionists as Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. Rachelle Mark’s work is concerned with her inner life and a search to connect with all that is divine. Her diverse body of work includes paintings, collages and monoprints. She also has done many free-standing screens, cut-out constructions and sculptural pieces.
Mark draws on a personal vocabulary of evocative images, ladders, chairs, figures, music, the rose and geometric shapes. The work, though whimsical, is also serious and moving. Many of the pieces have a religious quality, and indeed much of the imagery is inspired by her interest in the Kabbalah. Her screens, with their three-panel structure and use of gold-leaf decoration are reminiscent of Russian altars and Medieval manuscripts.
Mark’s surfaces are varied and painterly, ranging from thick to thin oil and acrylic, encaustic and metallic powders, Chinese paper cuts and Buddha papers. She has been embedding these different media in casting resin, which weds the work together in layers and gives dimension. Her sense of design is direct and inventive.
Mark is an avid traveler, and her work shows visions of Africa, China, the Middle East, Haiti, Bali, the Amazon, Europe and Russia. The exotic colors, texture and patterns of these countries all find their way into the rich tapestry of her work. Mark is a spiritual traveler whose work is timeless, seeming to be absolutely ancient and resolutely modern, to be both serious and frivolous, to be simple in its understatement and complex in its form and content.