|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|The following comments are from Raymond Sicignano, former dealer of the artist. Mason's web site is http://www.rogermason.net:|
Roger Mason claims to be a Realist, but his unique style goes far beyond
direct representation of natural form. He has the ability to see surreal
aspects in reality, and sometimes his images appear more abstract or amorphous than real. This is how he views the world and his work is truly an extension and expression of himself. It is Roger Mason's reality that is articulated in his painting and the further he proceeds in his divergent search for a world outside of himself, the more his work converges and becomes introspective, revealing other aspects of his self.
This ability to achieve an acute expression of himself and the reality around
him is derived from the artist's method of painting. For Mason, the painting
process is everything. It is the very act of painting that is his zen and is
what makes or breaks his work. Mason paints on location, usually outdoors
facing his subject. Paul Cezanne once said, "...all pictures painted inside,
in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside". And this is
certainly true for Mason.
On painting in the studio Mason simply says, "It's boring!" The studio lacks the drama, intensity and spontaneity of the streets that he needs as a catalyst for his inspiration. While Mason is painting, there is a synthesis; a constant, intimate interaction between himself, his subject and the surroundings. The works are not just physical representations of the subject, but also emotional registers of that interaction. The act of painting, the painting process itself, produces this intense, emotional "drama of the moment" which is the prominent feature of his paintings and the true subject of this work.
The reason for this intensity is simple. Mason himself is a very intense,
emotional man, who balances his passions with a tremendous sense of humor and a refreshing unpretentiousness. Roger Mason's genius is his ability to combine attributes of Abstract Expressionism, where he focuses on surface qualities and the act of painting itself; and Conceptualism, where his
visionary concept is the focus of the work and physical manifestations seem
unnecessary. He begins his paintings seemingly more by "sensing" and
"feeling" than with premeditated conscious thought.
As he continues painting, he intuitively conceptualizes the work and then transcends this to a representational rendering that contains beauty and expression. His painting is emotionally driven and instinctively executed.
Attempting to uncover Mason's artist heritage, it appears as though his art
is a natural, post rock-and-roll evolution of 20th-century American painting
begun by artists from the Group of Eight and the Ashcan School as well as
Edward Hopper. While these artists do not supply any direct inspiration to
the artist, who credits Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Pinkham Ryder and Vincent
Van Gogh as providing the most influence on him, his style is extremely
personal and very American.
Due to his intense use of color, his sharp, harsh contrast of light and
shadow, and his seemingly similar subject matter, Mason is most often
compared to Hopper. In actuality, their two styles and approaches to painting
are virtually opposite. Hopper would formulate and establish a painting in
his mind before starting to work, while Mason relies on and reacts to the
spontaneity of the moment, using his intuition to formulated the work as it
progresses. Hopper, in contrast, always distances himself from his scenes and seems isolated and alienated from the world. Mason is totally immersed in and part of his paintings, creating a much greater warmth and emotional
connection the the taciturn Hopper. It is this intense emotionalism that
defines Mason's work and for this reason his painting is more aptly compared to that of Van Gogh, even though their styles and their individual visions are completely different. Van Gogh was an impetuous romantic while Mason is a vehement realist.
Roger Mason currently lives with his family in upstate Chatham, New York. He
travels much of the year to work and at any time can be found painting in
Telluride, Colorado; Sante Fe, New Mexico, South America, Paris and Provence,
France; to name some of the places he has painted.
Note: the artist was born in Brooklyn, New York and earned a BFA from Pratt Institute.
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