Tag Archives: painting

Rachel Berkowitz

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 When one is alone in nature, the environment acts as a source of self-inflicted reflections and mental re-evaluations.

Rachel Berkowitz

Are these paintings not balm for the soul? These are part of the series, Illusion of Risk, by artist Rachel Berkowitz. Rachel is an emerging artist living in Los Angeles. We recently got acquainted with Rachel and her work, which focuses on the spiritual elements behind risk-taking, fate and chance “using natural landscapes as a primary creative resource.” She is a painter, printmaker, and photographer. Rachel shares thoughts about her artwork and process below.

My artwork prior to the global pandemic was all about gambling and taking everyday risks. I realized during this contemplative time that there’s a mental gamble in every choice we make. Now, even simple tasks, such as going to the grocery store, initiate additional risk factors that were not present prior to 2020.

When I depict the spiritual elements behind risk-taking, fate, and chance, I am simultaneously conceptualizing these elements, as well as representing them in a surrealist manner. There are particular symbols that I have associated with good luck; some easily recognizable, like a four leaf clover, a diamond or the lucky number seven. Others are in the form of flowers and plants, associated with good fortune derived from ancient societies and traditional rituals.

However, I do conceive spirituality to be a feeling, rather than a particular shape or form. The abstract work I make reflects this ideology in the brush strokes, compositions and careful color choices. Visually, I have also been inspired by natural landscapes from National Parks across the U.S. To me, the most spiritual and grounding feeling one can ever sense is from being surrounded by nature. When one is alone in nature, the environment acts as a source of self-inflicted reflections and mental re-evaluations.

At the current moment, I am most focused on a photography project on portraits of Los Angeles psychics and modern mystics. I am fascinated by both the aesthetic qualities as well as the mental capacity needed for this business to operate. I find it wondrous and completely exhilarating that psychics are able to help people with everyday problems as a means of therapy and spiritual guidance/healing.”

Rachel’s book based on this photo series will be available online for pre-orders, along with an expected gallery showing of the photographs in early 2021 at Gallery 1202. Check out her other photography series here.

Thank you for sharing your work and inspiring words with us, Rachel! We look forward to seeing your book when it is released! For more info, please visit her website: Rachel Berkowitz.

Featured Artist: Marlon Mullen

Marlon Mullen Untitled 2018 acrylic on linen 36 x 24 inches 444x600 Featured Artist Marlon Mullen
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MARLON MULLEN is a painter living in California. He has been a participating studio artist at NIAD (Nurturing Independence through Artistic Development) Art Center in Richmond, CA, since 1993.

NIAD is a visual arts program located in Richmond, CA. that promotes creative expression, independence, dignity, and community integration for artists with disabilities. Mullen is on the autism spectrum and is mostly non-verbal. As with many disabled artists, his art serves as a way for him to communicate and transcend barriers.

NIAD describes this in more detail:

“He certainly has his own understanding of meaning when it comes to words. Specifically regarding the content of his paintings, he has not verbally communicated at length his intent or fascination with the images that he copies. However, his paintings are sufficient in informing us of the nuances of what he sees.”

Mullen works from found photographs or art magazines (Art Forum or Art in America) which he transforms into obscure, bold colors and shapes. His art has been shown at many notable galleries and has been included in several exhibitions. His work was featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial as well as in SFMOMA’s SECA Art Awards exhibition.

Mullen’s work is represented by JTT in New York and Adams and Ollman in Oregon. He is a great example of an artist who was able to overcome obstacles that normally prevent inclusion in the art world.

“Just a few years ago, the idea that artists with developmental disabilities working in progressive art studios could develop serious careers as contemporary artists seemed idealistic and almost unattainable…These contemporary icons of the progressive art studio movement, however, demonstrate the great promise of inclusive culture – highly original ideas and fascinating new paradigms for understanding and defining art-making.”

– Disparate Minds: Marlon Mullen and Helen Rae (February 2019)

If interested in learning more about his work, please visit JTT (for purchase inquiries) or NIAD. NIAD has a long list of other talented artists to explore. Below is a video from SFMOMA showing Mullen working in the studio. Enjoy!


Image credits (top to bottom):
#1 Marlon Mullen, Untitled, 2018, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches
#2 Marlon Mullen, Untitled, 2018, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches
#3 Marlon Mullen, Untitled, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 41 x 48 inches

Please note that all images are copyright © of the individual artists and used on this blog for educational purposes. Selling, printing, or repurposing artwork without an artist’s permission is not nice or permitted.