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Edward Marecak

 (1919 - 1993)
Edward S. Marecak was active/lived in Colorado, Ohio.  Edward Marecak is known for cubist painting figure and floral still-life painting, teaching.

Edward Marecak

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Edward Marecak
?Edward Marecak (1919-1993),  was a Denver art teacher whose exhibitions were regionalized and infrequent, but was distinctive with his very own artistic dialect. His kaleidoscopic narratives, keenly aware of the spiral nature of time were intended to inject a mythic presence into the seasons of life, investing venerable gods, and most particularly goddesses, with contemporary vestments and concerns; fresh bodies and outlooks; slyly and humorously raveling logics of folklore into concurrent event and celebrating, always, passions of sensual existence and privileges of observation.?

Born near Cleveland, Ohio to parents whose household was saturated with the fables, customs and wisdoms of their Carpathian Mountain homeland, Marecak is remembered as a boy not only for his predilection to exceptional visual pursuits but for verbal facility in storytelling. He studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art on full scholarship and at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan before and after his years of military service during WWII. ??

When Marecak was invited to teach a summer art course at the University of Colorado in Boulder in the early 1950s, he earned teaching credentials and ha a 25-year career teaching in Denver's public schools system.

A 1958 letter by him conveys his dedication: "...a day in which 170 odd little creatures are exposed to culture and the joy of working with one's hands and head- a day where the new Marecak truly rules- a day of police methods, of love, of psychoanalysis, of jokes, of irritation, of wonderful bubble ideas...I become father, mother, monster, teacher, policeman, psychologist, artist and even an ideal. I am all of these things five times a day and more...I love school, I love the work, I hate the red tape and hot air..."

His teaching apparently was effective as they won won fifteen of 100 regional awards shortly after this letter was written where the year before, in the Colorado-Utah-Wyoming competition, only two had been given in the entire state of Colorado.

??Even Marecak's devotion to the art of education could not slow his desire to exhibit his work: His paintings usually stayed in "their hidey hole in the basement," as he put it in a letter, until a special occasion would prompt them into the open: "I finally found a gallery I think I can trust and if they don't fold up and go away to the stars I will have a large one man show in December. I don't look forward to all the mats and frames but it's time I let my children be looked at again."

On another occasion he would comment "Well, all the awful mickey mouse of getting a show underway is behind me...I am doing this show to once and for all get rid of- 'Ed you must let the public see these.' OK public, here I am, now plunk down a buck or two or shut up." ??

Marecak had success as Hollywood notable Hugh Benson not only sponsored an invitational exhibit of 220 of his works at Martin Lowitz Galleries in Beverly Hills, California but rented six of them for use in The Outcasts television series.

Of this event Marecak wrote: "These crazy Californians can turn sauerkraut into popsicles, air into smog, and an American school teacher into a gypsy- a Slovak gypsy yet! This show was the most wonderful example of plush horse Hollywood. If it would have been done on a less lavish scale I think I would have withdrawn my paintings opening night and painted dirty words all over the Hollywood newspapers, but the scale and style of production was so wonderfully operatic that I came away delighted and full of chuckles- pink plastic flamingos had nothing on this."??

Another example of Marecak's distant and indirect influence in a larger world beyond the Rocky Mountains came from the realm of fashion, in November of 1966, when an influential fashion designer returned from Colorado enraptured with his work. A New York Times writer observed: "Adele Simpson introduced the paintings of Edward S. Marecak, a Czechoslovak artist she discovered in Denver when she gave a fashion show there in September. She called her collection 'The Art of Living' in his honor and showed dresses and costumes in the same vibrant reds and greens that appeared in his canvasses decorating the showroom walls."? Simpson, in fact, coined the term "Marecak red" to refer to a favorite color, which would appear to be very close to Chinese red.

It was The Rocky Mountain News which observed in 1984 that this "Denver artist intentionally maintains a low profile." To which we can only add "Too low and for too long...."

Small excerpts from Marecak's letters and recorded conversations are as follows: ?"I want to preach and yet not preach beyond the point of a fine painting, tell a story but not lose sight of art...I like my painters that still sing a joy about life and odd as it may seem even mention beauty. I really can't get with nylon curtains cluttering up canyons or ancient re-used Dada material from the early 20s, or plays that make one feel like cutting one's wrists or pots that look like burnt cinders surmounted with turds. I know our world is not all ugly!...I do not feel that a painting is finished as long as I can change or move one thing.... I am still very much a Byzantine designer and my joy with what color can do grows all the time...Perspective- what my students can do to a vanishing point is beyond belief. I always print a gem on the board for their inspection such as if you have lost the vanishing point, feel the top of your head- it will give you hope...Art, like germs and bacteria, man cannot do without and all one can do with the problem is your best- don't worry if it's important, let your creative enzymes worry about's wonderful to catch up with all your ideas- one needs two life times to come near to what bubbles inside..."

Submitted by Ethelyn Martin

Biography from Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
Edward Marecak is certainly one of Colorado's most important modernist painters. He was born in Cleveland and grew up in the Brunswick farming community close to Cleveland, Ohio. He was granted a full scholarship to the Cleveland Institute of Art (1938-42), and attended Cranbrook Academy (1942 and 1947). After serving in World War II, he came to Colorado Springs to study with Boardman Robinson at the Broadmoor Academy. His future wife, Donna, had come to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center to study with Edgar Britton, whom she had known from Chicago. It was Colorado's great fortune that Edward and Donna would meet there and get married in 1947. Both followed their own artistic muse but several extraordinary artistic collaborations occurred between the two for furniture, ceramics and dinnerware. Edward also attended the University of Denver School of Art in 1955 when Vance Kirkland was Director there.

Marecak painting themes draw vaguely from mythology, including ancient Greek mythology and Slavonic folklore - his parents were from Slovakia. In many of his paintings, artistic reference to fates, witches and willies are woven into abstract compositions. In some, life and death situations are evident. Also his dark, haunting forests, as well as searingly bright landscapes often contain animal-like and people-like forms.  Marecak was a devotee of opera and classical music so that operatic stories and musical allusions are also loosely woven into his paintings. For instance, one painting is entitled Death and the Maiden after the great Quartet for Strings by Franz Schubert.

All these diverse elements and many more, no doubt, are used by Marecak to spin his canvas webs of color and abstraction. Symbolism is at the center of most Marecak paintings and incorporated into his highly sophisticated compositions. These are executed with refined techniques and his widespread color palette adds further drama to the paintings. Then, as an added dimension, the titles of many of his paintings and lithographs are seemingly humorous but seriously thought provoking at the same time.

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About  Edward Marecak

Born:  1919 - Cleveland, Ohio
Died:   1993
Known for:  cubist painting figure and floral still-life painting, teaching