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Von Stein With Art




Morgantown, W.Va., September 9, 2004--Artist Mark von Stein usually divides his time between the northern shores of New England and Sydney, Australia. But not this weekend, because this weekend he’ll hang his canvas-quite a few canvases, actually- right here in Morgantown. The Monongalia Arts Center is hosting a show of his paintings titles “Souvenirs of Light.” There will be an opening reception for von Stein from 6-8 p.m. Friday.

A tireless traveler, von Stein has made his way through Morgantown several times and compares the area’s regional arts scene with that of Reading, Pa., where he spent much of last year. “It has momentum and vitality,” he said, taking a break from his self-paced Japanese lessons to speak from his home in Beverly Farms, Mass. Most of von Stein’s introductions to Morgantown “artsiest” folks have come through his brother, Bill Maloney, longtime resident and current president of the Morgantown Community Trust.

Maloney said he first introduced von Stein to MAC executive director Ro Brooks about a year and a half or two years ago. “After that conversation they had decided to work together on a show,” he said. “So this show is at least that long in the making.” Having studied philosophy intensely in college, von Stein said he is moved and inspired by the metaphysical world. Just because one cannot see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, he said. Something may exist outside the physical realm or beyond the physical realm, but there are still data pointing to its existence.

“In quantum physics terms, everything has life,” he said, “something outside of this matter.” In other words, paintings have life before the canvas. The artist only makes that life visible. Light was Monet’s inspiration, too, but von Stein maintains his vision of light is different than the Impressionist masters’. “All modern art arises as an early response to work begun by earlier artists. It’s like a continuing conversation,” he said in an earlier interview with MAC curators. “The discussion of light was considered by Monet and other artists of the Impressionist movement. While Monet, for example, as intrigued with light as it was reflected in nature, these pieces articulate the nature of light and color before they are assembled into anything.”

Von Stein said his work is generally described as “late modern abstract expressionist.” There is a lot of tactility, a lot of self- reflexivity in this work,” he said. “I find paintings are like a movie in that it will open your mind if you get over the hump and are able to see past it.” Though an admitted outsider in the art world, Maloney will nonetheless be by his brother’s side Friday. When asked how he’s felt about his brother’s work over the years, and about the most recent show, he laughed and said only, “I actually like some of it now.”

  • 2004 “Souvenirs of Light” Benedum Gallery, Monongalia Arts Center, Morgantown, W.Va., USA
  • 2001 “Maps from Sydney” Canal Street Restaurant, Reading, PA, USA
  • 1999 “Nights of Civility” Grand Pacific Blue Room, Paddington, New South Wales, Australia
  • 1992 “Paintings by the Pound” Chuck Levitan Gallery, SOHO, New York, USA