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 Tom Marioni  (1937 - )

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Lived/Active: California/Ohio      Known for: conceptual art-video, printmaking, sculpture, drawing

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Ad Code: 3
Tom Marioni Fire in the Hole
"Fire in the Hole"
2007 Colored pencil on paper 22 1/4" x 22 1/2"

Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Of his work, Tom Morian said:  "The artist's role in society is to observe real life and report on it poetically. If the movement of his materials is sure and honest, the work becomes a beautiful gesture."

Marioni is a conceptual artist, who uses sculpture, drawing and printmaking to express his views of art expression and underlying ideas.  He views conceptual art as a way of treating traditional art "in unprecedented ways.  For example, instead of looking for form in things, or objects, in the world, Conceptual artists began to pay attention to forms that occur in life situations.  Marioni pioneered using social situations as art, and his 1970 piece called The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art has become legendary." 

Using a variety of media for expression, Marioni goes beyond the confinement generally associated with those terms, and purposely defies their limits by using disparate elements for presentation such as performance and installing.  "Marioni is interested in Asian art and thought, and the elegant spareness of his art in general has something to do with Zen philosophy.  The work has a simple beauty that, like Zen, offers at the same time something to think about."

In 1970, Marioni founded the Museum of Conceptual Art (MOCA) as 'a large-scale social work of art.'  Until it closed in 1984, he directed MOCA and at the same time continued to pursue his individual work as an artist.  MOCA was the first “alternative art space” in the United States, and its presence in San Francisco is evidence that in our time, with our fast world-wide communications, it is not necessary to live in the country’s primary art center to do influential work.  MOCA presented many landmark shows, (including the first Sound Sculpture show in 1970), and also provided a social situation for artists. . . . He has created a large body of work in drawing and printmaking.  Tree, Drawing a Line as Far as I Can Reach, 1972, set up a theme that he has developed for twenty-eight years.  A work from the same time, Bird, Running and Jumping with a Pencil, Marking the Paper while Trying to Fly (1972) is the forerunner of his new color print Flying with Friends (Drypoint).  In fact, most of Marioni’s prints have been results of repetitive activity, his own or others’.   Even his pictorial prints are dependent on his activity—a Zen-like concentration on mark-making.

Sources:  Quotations are from the writing on the website of Kathan Brown: Crown Point Press.

Margaret Roeder Gallery

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Tom Marioni was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1937.  Marioni studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy during 1955-59 and then settled in San Francisco where he still lives.  His work includes installation art, printmaking, sculpture, and film art.  His first show was at the Oakland Museum in 1970.  He was the founding director of the Museum of Conceptual Art in San Francisco from 1970 until it closed in 1984.

Works held:  Oakland Museum; Santa Barbara Museum; Newport Harbor Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Modern Art (New York); M.H. deYoung Museum; Mills College Art Museum.             
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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