The Deo Gallery is an ingredient of the City of Marquette’s Arts and Culture Center. The gallery is curated by the Lake Superior Art Association, featuring a monthly display of art for the Upper Peninsula’s public. With an offering of artists in all mediums, the Deo Gallery’s unique selection is an opportunity for the community to come together in a space and share their love for creativity and arts.
The Deo Gallery’s October feature is Mara Manning, an abstract artist relying on line, shape, texture, and color to move the viewer’s eye around her work. Painting with oil and cold wax, Manning uses mixed media to create a textural surface, allowing the audience to discover her pieces’ hidden beauties and stories.
“The media allows me to scrape into the painting as well as apply thin glazes over time, slowly letting the painting reveal itself to me. The surface of the paintings can be either aggressive and raw with immediate marks, or smooth and subtle as I scrape away to reveal the right composition as a work reaches completion.”
Manning has a BFA in drawing and painting from UW-Milwaukee and a Master of Arts in Education from Lesley University. “I believe the background I have in drawing, painting, and art history has given me a strong sense of design and composition and helped support my personal drive to create work that is authentic.”
“It has also taught me that being an artist requires hard work and a daily commitment to my practice and goals. I have met a lot of people and made a lot of connections through the years and maintaining those is a very important part of reaching any personal goals.”
Inspiration surrounds Manning as she works, with the beautiful natural world right outside her door.
“My studio is on the shore of Lake Michigan, a good place for my body and soul to recharge every night as I dream my abstract layered and scarred oil and cold wax paintings into being. Inspired by views, memories, and wanderings, I construct a picture in which shape, space, and color form a set of unique relationships that combine to express a personal landscape.”
For Manning, “Oh The Places We Have Been” is a combination of abstract landscapes made in response to her walks and travels, focusing on the natural world around her.
“They are personal landscapes because the elements in them are not necessarily recognizable. I don’t use a traditional horizon line; rather, I often stack shapes that can be ground or sky. I use symbols or marks in many of my paintings to tell the story or put together the composition.”
Manning uses hash marks in sets of five to represent her family, curved lines for mountains, scratches for text or writing, and light and dark variation to represent travel.
“Being an artist is a way of life for me, so I don’t compartmentalize it. I enjoy each day because I am always ready for what the world has to offer, knowing I might be able to use it in some creative way.”