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 Mylo Quam  (1941 - 1996)

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Lived/Active: North Dakota/New York      Known for: painting, drawing, set design, lithographs, collage, acting

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Ad Code: 4
Mylo Quam
from Auction House Records.
The Vernissage
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography, submitted by Peter Bissell, is from the Woodstock Artists Association website when they hosted an exhibition of work by Mylo Quam in late 2002 and early 2003

"A long-time Woodstock area resident, Mylo Quam was a self-taught painter and draughtsman whose provocative figural work has been compared to Renaissance painters Sandro Botticelli and Hieronymous Bosch, as well as to twentieth-century artists Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. Quam was an avid reader who derived inspiration from such varied arenas as Shakespeare, the occult, the Bible, Eastern and Western mythology, politics, and popular culture. “I look at everything,” the artist was quoted as saying in 1990. “I read the comic pages. Anything visual. There’s very little I don’t think is a subject for art.”

Born in North Dakota, Quam studied Greek language and other classical subjects at Brandeis, Boston, and New York Universities, and worked as a translator of Greek plays while just 17 years old. After a successful career as an actor that included numerous Off-Broadway performances and a leading role in the 1968 Broadway production of Royal Hunt of the Sun, Quam turned his focus to painting.

His first one-man exhibition was at the Boatman Gallery, NYC in 1969 and was followed by twenty solo shows over the course of his career at venues including Gallery A, Flynn Gallery, CFM Gallery, Brewster Gallery, Imperial Gallery, Runyon Winchell Gallery and the Gallery of Erotic Art, all in New York City.

Quam’s work was also exhibited at the John Pense Gallery in San Francisco, the Clark-Whitney Gallery in Massachusetts, the Barrett House and Desmond Weiss Galleries in Poughkeepsie, and for many years at the Ann Leonard Gallery in Woodstock.

Quam’s paintings were exhibited internationally, as well, notably in a solo exhibition in Haiti-- the first by an American artist in that country. In addition, he was one of four artists to represent the United States in La Bienalle di Venezia, Italia of 1986. As a young man, Quam designed sets and/or costumes for the Actor’s Playhouse in New York City, the Lucas Hovig Ballet Company, and the Opera Municipal de Marseilles, France. He also created illustrations for The Story of O published by Grove Press in 1970 and a series of lithographs, Une Saison En Enfer, based on the poem by Rimbaud in 1975.

Quam established a home in Shokan, New York in 1965 and was widely appreciated in the Woodstock region for his vast knowledge, intelligence, and wit, all of which are evidenced in his paintings. Indeed, Quam’s visually dense, sometimes disturbing, and often erotically charged images may provide an interpretative challenge to viewers. In 1986, art critic Raymond Steiner of Art Times wrote, “Quam delights in what [the artist] terms visual “jokes” that, more often than not, make unusual demands upon his viewers. One must ‘read’ Quam’s paintings to get their full import.” Nevertheless, the artist was just as frequently recognized for the masterful handling of the oil medium in meticulously detailed and expressive works that are as visually appealing as they are symbolically rich.

During his career, Quam produced over 700 oils and collages and innumerable drawings. A large number of previously un-exhibited pencil drawings from the artist’s estate may also be seen at the WAA. Many of these works were studies for Quam’s large oil paintings. Quam’s paintings and drawings were admired and collected by many in the Woodstock region, including Phoebe Towbin, for whom the museum wing of the Woodstock Artists Association is named."


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