Libbie Mark (1905-1972) was a familiar figure in the art communities of New York City and Provincetown in the 1950s and 1960s. She studied with and had connections to many of the 20th century’s most significant artists including Grace Hartigan, Hans Hofmann, and Vaclav Vytlacil. Mark was also an active participant in the Vectors artist group, whose membership featured unusually high female representation for the time.
In solo and group shows, Mark exhibited her abstract paintings, whose heavily textured surfaces were built up with tissue paper and other materials collaged with paint on paper, Masonite, or canvas. Absorbing the impulses and energy of her time, Mark’s work stood out. A 1962 solo show at Knapik Gallery in Manhattan garnered enthusiastic reviews from ARTnews and the Herald Tribune. Her exhibition activity continued as she exhibited with the Vectors throughout the 1960s.
After almost 80 years, the unprecedented burst of creative energy that surged through American art in the post-war era still vibrates. Abstract Expressionism and its dominant stars, mostly male, continue to hold power to stimulate, provoke and inspire. Simultaneously, time’s ability to cool and clarify is opening the way to re-narration.
Unlike many other mid-century female artists, due to the support of her family, Libbie Mark was able to paint, take classes, and exhibit her work. However, hers was not the case of a comfortable housewife with a hobby. The extent and duration of Mark’s artistic activity, the quality of the work, the clear drive, and the related life decisions that made it happen demonstrate her serious commitment to her art. This understudied but talented Abstract Expressionist artist deserves further study; this exhibition and other efforts of the Libbie Mark Provincetown Fund will help fulfill that goal. About 150 works have been documented so far, and further research is ongoing.
Art of the Abstract Mark exhibits more than two dozen collage paintings from the 1960s and a few earlier works from the 1950s during Mark’s time with Hofmann and at the Art Students League. Although Mark’s life was cut short at age 66, the body of work she has left for us demonstrates a freshness and verve rarely seen today.
The exhibition is on view at the NAC’s historic landmark clubhouse, located at 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY, from January 18 through February 25, 2022.
Admission is free and open to the public. The gallery is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Proof of vaccination and mask wearing are required. Additional details are available at nationalartsclub.org/exhibitions.
A 60-page color catalogue will be available for purchase at the NAC during the duration of the exhibition, as well as at libbiemark.com. Additional works by Mark can be discovered on Instagram @libbiemarkartist.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ARTS CLUB
Founded in 1898, The National Arts Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts. Annually, the Club offers more than 150 free programs to the public, including exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, lectures and readings, attracting an audience of over 25,000 members and guests. Feature programs focus on all disciplines of the arts.
For a full list of events or to learn more, please visit nationalartsclub.org.
ABOUT THE LIBBIE MARK PROVINCETOWN FUND
The Libbie Mark Provincetown Fund (LMPF) was created to highlight Libbie Mark’s artwork and establish her legacy by placing her paintings in public or private collections, and supporting research, exhibitions and programming that include her work whether online, in print, or in physical spaces. The Fund is also publishing an ongoing catalogue raisonné of her artwork.
The important research and outreach sponsored by the LMPF will add to the art historical record of this understudied mid-century female artist. To enhance this mission, in the future, the Fund may also support exhibitions, publications, and other programming that include the work of other understudied female artists that its Managers determine deserve more attention.
To learn more, visit libbiemark.com.Abstract Expressionism