by John F. Marok
The figures in my paintings have their origins from my own life. I begin with my friends, family and myself as a model but what transpires during my painting process always yields a revelation. The end result is a painting that solicits or awakens something in me … something that was not originally foreseen. I don’t fully “get” the painting immediately … its significance unfolds over time.
Often my paintings exude an enigmatic quality, which is not something for which I strive. However, I feel most resolved with a painting when it is imbued with elements of both ambiguity and precision. When a painting is completed, I feel as though I’ve met a stranger that I somehow know–a curious feeling of deja-vu.
I work with the belief that what is most personal is also most universal. My perception is that our vulnerability, our deepest innermost thoughts and feelings of the world around us can be common and shared.
Born in Montreal in 1960, John F. Marok graduated from John Abbott College and Concordia University with a special emphasis on painting. He is a recipient of the Queens Jubilee Medal, has been awarded Grants by the Canada Council and from Quebec’s ministère de la Culture and has painted and completed research residencies in Europe and Canada. An accomplished, full-time painter, Marok has been working and exhibiting for 35 years.
In 1980, Marok was jury selected at 19 years old (the youngest participant) for the 3rd Biennale of Quebec Painting, held at the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montreal. The following year he was represented by the Grunwald Gallery, a prestigious commercial gallery in Toronto and participated in an important exhibit of Quebec painting at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). At 22 years of age he was given his first one-man exhibition at Grunwald and received much critical acclaim and commercial success. Subsequent to several other exhibitions John’s work became nationally recognized and collected by several museums across Canada, namely: Musee d’art contemporain du Quebec (Montreal), Canada Council Art Bank (Ottawa), Musee du Quebec (Quebec), MOCCA (Toronto), Nickel Arts Museum (Calgary).
During the 1990’s Marok’s work was purchased exclusively by Jean Lapointe and then by Gaetan Morin. These highly regarded collectors sold and distributed Marok’s paintings into private collections and the collections of The University of Ottawa, The University of Quebec, McGill University and also the collections of the City of Ottawa and the City of Gatineau which houses over 100 paintings by Marok.
For the past 25 years John has been living and working in Wakefield, Quebec where he maintains his full-time art practice. Of his paintings, John says: “My paintings are inspired, influenced and shaped through my experience of places, people and things in my life. I work with the belief that what is most personal is also most universal. My perception is that our vulnerability, our deepest innermost thoughts and feelings of the world around us can be common and shared.”