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Marc Raphael

Marc Raphael


Influenced by the New York abstract expressionism of the 1940s and 50s, Los Angeles artist Marc Raphael began teaching himself how to create his first action paintings in 1991. After encountering Jackson Pollock’s work for the first time, Raphael was enraptured by the scale, energy, color, and abstraction, awakening his creative spirit.

“As an action painter who paints in an abstract expressionist style, I am primarily interested in the process of making art. To begin a painting, I lay raw, unstretched canvas on the floor, and without a preconceived notion of what I am going to do or how the finished painting will look, I intuitively apply the first marks of acrylic paint on the canvas. What I love about raw canvas is how watered-down acrylic paint stains the cotton fibers, providing a smoothly textured background. Working quickly, I scoot, lean, bend, and squat as I move around the canvas executing rapid-fire drips, splatters, and swirls. By consciously attending to formal elements, especially color, line, and texture, and allowing intuition to freely assert itself, the painting soon comes to life and presents a direction. I liken this balance of control and spontaneity to a conversation I am having with the painting. This balance between control and spontaneity also reminds me of improvisational jazz, and that is why I refer to my paintings as ‘jazz-like improvisations on canvas.’”