Art Exhibition: American Beauties

Starting this coming April 1st, I’ll be exhibiting several paintings at American Beauties: Different Stories, a group show at SpaceOnSpurgeon gallery in Santa Ana, California. Two of my latest oil paintings, The Red Dress and La Muerta (The Dead Woman,) will be on view for the first time - in fact they were both painted especially for this exhibit. I wrote the following statement regarding the exhibition.

Painting by Mark Vallen

[ The Red Dress - Vallen 2006 Oil on masonite panel 9" x 12" ]

“The exhibition name of American Beauties might conjure up certain images for many individuals, the most obvious being innocuous portraits of appealing, fashionable women - so I think people are likely to be surprised by this exhibit of works by contemporary artists. For a social realist painter like myself, the title of the show invokes a different type of imagery - one based upon a clear humanist vision that redefines the notion of who is or can be beautiful. My artworks usually focus on those who lay outside the mainstream, whether by choice or discrimination, and by contemplating these figures I strive to reveal their intrinsic worth and beauty - such is the case with the paintings I’m displaying in this exhibit. While I endeavor to create realist artworks that possess international appeal, my works unmistakably reflect the American experience - giving yet another meaning to the title of American Beauties.”

Painting by Michael Maas

[ Mother and Child - Acrylic painting by Michael Maas ]

The owner of SpaceOnSpurgeon gallery, JoAnne Artman, visualized American Beauties as an exhibition “bridging cultures and challenging perceptions of Latino life.” For the exhibit she brought together painters Michael Maas, Gregg Stone, Emigdio Vasquez, and of course - yours truly. Artman describes the works of my fellow exhibiting artists in the following way. “Renowned muralist Emigdio Vasquez is a visionary storyteller who carves day-to-day struggles onto faces and into souls. Gregg Stone uses watercolor, gouache, and ink to create a modern realistic portrait of Latino life, and Michael Maas’ Mother and Child series is inspired by images of the Virgin of Guadalupe.”

Painting by Emigdio Vasquez

[ Las Campesinas - Oil painting by Emigdio Vasquez ]

The Artist’s Reception for American Beauties: Different Stories, will take place on Saturday, April 1st, from 7-10 pm. Michael Maas, Gregg Stone, Emigdio Vasquez, and I will be on hand to greet the public. The exhibit continues through June 30th, 2006. SpaceOnSpurgeon is located at 210 N. Spurgeon Street, in Santa Ana, California. 92701 (Click here for an online map.)

Painting by Gregg Stone

[ Arana - Mixed media painting by Gregg Stone ]

The gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays, from 1 - 4 pm, and also by appointment (To contact JoAnne Artman, phone: 949-464-0105.) Visit the first Saturday of any month to coincide with the Santa Ana Artists Village Open House artwalk. Street parking is available directly in front of the Spurgeon gallery, and also at the Artists Village Parking structure located at Third Street and Broadway. Visit the SpaceOnSpurgeon gallery at

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