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Meet the Artist: Mark Phelan

Artist Mark Phelan’s work will be on display in the Groundwork Gallery this spring as part of the “Ebb and Flow” group exhibition. In this interview, Mark shares about his art practice, teaching, and the importance of community.

artwork by Mark Phelan

What materials do you work with?

I am a painter, and work in oils and acrylic, and I often incorporate charcoal, chalk and collage.

Tell us about your current body of work. What motivated it?

My current work investigates and challenges the notion of linear time, and ways that I try to access places of time and space outside of the limitations of the linear.

How do you integrate art into your life and other responsibilities? Do you work full-time as an artist or do you wear other hats?

I am a faculty member of an international boarding school in Braintree where I teach painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. My teaching informs my own practice, and my practice informs my teaching. Problems and solutions arise in both arenas that are applicable to both.

How has your art practice evolved over the years?

My painting evolved when I began incorporating dry media usually reserved for drawing, and collages of photos and drawings. It became easier for me to tell the kinds of stories I want to tell, and find ways for elements from different ideas to coalesce. 

What or who inspires you?

I have many sources of inspiration. My students inspire me. Many different artists inspire me, like Giacometti, Cezanne, Uglow, Dickinson, and others. My family inspires me. My relationship with nature inspires me. 

How is community important to you as a practicing artist?

As a teacher, community is everything. And the international community in which I teach provides me insight to a lot of different perspectives. In my practice, I rely on the community of fellow artists for friendship and feedback. I also rely heavily on my community for opportunities to show my work.

Mark’s work will be on display in the Groundwork gallery March 14 – May 9. Also featured in the show will be work by Lauren Levine. The opening reception will be held at Groundwork on March 14th from 6-9pm, and is free and open to the public.

Want more about the Ebb & Flow Exhibit? Meet artist Lauren Levine.

Caitlin Joseph