Art Makes the Difference — Even for John Mellencamp

By Eileen Treasure, Fine Art Consultant

There is something very personal and special about these interior spaces, and what is that difference? It’s the art—the pieces themselves, the groupings and the unique installations. This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Architectural Digest.


Singer-songwriter John Mellencamp at his retreat on South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island; he stenciled the wall with lyrics from one of his songs. [Gallery MAR can coordinate custom wall murals and commissions along this line.] The home was designed by Neil Gordon Architect and decorated by Monique Gibson Interior Design.

Text by Julia Reed, Photography by   William Abranowicz

Some 30 years ago John Mellencamp discovered Daufuskie Island, a relatively unspoiled spot in South Carolina, just across the border from Savannah, Georgia.

Fascinated by the island’s history (until the 1980s it had been inhabited largely by the Gullah, descendants of freed slaves) and enamored of its privacy (it can only be reached by boat), the singer-songwriter purchased several acres on the Atlantic Ocean. But the land sat empty for more than a decade. “I had every intention of building a house—I just never got around to it,” says Mellencamp.


Occupying the center of the house is a double-height living hall inspired by a church nave. The custom-made dining table is topped with a whale-rib sculpture from Balsamo Antiques, and the wing chairs and armchairs are by Lucca Antiques.

Then one day he snapped a photograph of a church in Myrtle Beach, and the structure’s shape inspired him to finally hire an architect. The finished residence—the work of Neil Gordon, whose office is on neighboring Hilton Head Island—bears ample evidence of that church’s influence, with pointed-arch windows and doors and a navelike central living hall that is ringed by a gallery reminiscent of a choir loft. Mellencamp filled the rooms with odds and ends from storage, but the home, like the property before it, “just kind of sat fallow,” he says.

It took some persuading by his girlfriend, Meg Ryan, to make the home something special. Energized by her enthusiasm, he called New York City interior designer Monique Gibson, with whom he’d collaborated on three previous dwellings.


The dining table displays an assortment of glass vessels from Balsamo Antiques; RG Ironworks made the French doors.


Artworks by Walt Kuhn, Marvin Cherney, and Jack Levine are displayed everywhere—from the shelves in the kitchen to the wall above the headboard in the master bedroom—the expressive social-realist portraits evoking the characters in Mellencamp’s gritty songbook. (The musician is currently working on his first solo album in four years, with producer T Bone Burnett.) Mixed among that boldface art are cherished bits of ephemera, such as vintage signs from a now-demolished mental hospital; the gilt letters of one spell out the institute for wayward young women.

In the kitchen, pendant lights by RH hang near portraits by Marvin Cherney and Walt Kuhn.


Drawings by Walt Kuhn and Marvin Cherney grace the living hall, which is painted in a Benjamin Moore white; the cocktail table is by RH, and the windows here and throughout the house are by Marvin Windows and Doors


In the master bedroom, a large Marvin Cherney work is propped on a Monique Gibson–designed bed dressed with Sferra linens; the lamps are by the Urban Electric Co., and the British Colonial armchair is from Anglo-Raj Antiques.

While Daufuskie is Mellencamp’s refuge, he readily throws open the five guest rooms to friends and family, proof that a once forlorn and overgrown piece of real estate has become absolutely essential. “John really uses this place now,” Gibson notes. “I take that as a huge compliment.”

Gallery MAR welcomes you to stroll through our collection and find pieces that will make your home something truly special. Celebrity status not required.

Deer Valley + Solitude Donate and are Gifted a Painting

Bridgette Meinhold Installation Solitude2

Bridgette Meinhold’s beautiful encaustic painting’s installation at Solitude Resort

Everyone wins when an artist uses her heart and talents to create something beautiful to benefit Utah Open Lands. Bridgette Meinhold has allowed us to re-post this blog from her website, describing her latest (and most generous) creation.

From Bridgette Meinhold’s website

Solitude’s Kim Mayhew and Deer Valley’s Bob Wheaton presented a check to Utah Open Lands for $10,500 to help purchase Bonanza Flats in exchange for one of my paintings! The painting was hung just in time for closing weekend on April 7th, 2017 at Solitude Ski Resort in the Roundhouse, an on mountain restaurant and day lodge. Huge thanks to Wendy Fischer at Utah Open Lands, Maren Mullin at Gallery MAR, as well as Solitude Ski ResortDeer Valley Ski Resort for making this happen. I couldn’t be more honored to have my art on one of the walls at Solitude and even more grateful for the resorts’ contribution to save my back yard from development. Also it just proves that art really can save the world.

This along with the other encaustic and watercolor paintings I’ve sold have raised $22,000 for Bonanza Flats. In addition, I am selling small watercolors through my Etsy shop until June 10th with all the proceeds going to Bonanza Flats.
Images courtesy of Solitude Ski resort

Gallery MAR on 1stdibs

Nina Tichava’s “Ribbon” mixed media 30″ x 30″ available on

By Veronica Vale, Fine Art Consultant

Gallery MAR is excited to announce our new partnership with the online marketplace, This innovative platform provides a streamlined online fine art shopping experience. Art seekers can effortlessly find the perfect piece for their homes by sorting art inventory by style, subject matter, artist, medium, size, or even color. While nothing beats the experience of standing before a painting in an art gallery, 1stdibs gives art seekers a rich and intimate online experience. The site enables different views of any piece, a bio of each featured artist, and in-depth information on the work itself, all at the click of a button.

Gallery MAR homepage on


Although we are always thrilled to meet art seekers at our Park City location, we hope that for those that cannot make it out to see us, that this online marketplace provides a fun, enriching experience of our gallery.

“At 1stdibs, we’re here to connect the world’s best dealers, finest shops and most important galleries with individuals like you: the world’s most sophisticated collectors, designers, and curators.

Starting with the few dealers that were hand-selected by our founder, Michael Bruno, at Paris’s legendary antiques market, Marché Aux Puces, in 2001, we’ve become the global destination for those who must have ‘first dibs’ on treasures — from around the world — that would otherwise be inaccessible.”

Kimball Art Center, Annual Gala Featuring Richard Serra

Save the Date
2017 Kimball Art Center Gala

Thursday July 13, 6 p.m. at the Kimball Art Center

The annual Gala is a longstanding tradition that provides critical funding that directly supports the Kimball Art Center’s exhibitions, educational programs and events. This event illustrates the power of art and creativity and the critical role it plays in the health of our community. The 2017 Gala will be held in the Kimball Art Center’s Main Gallery, featuring the work of legendary artist Richard Serra, and outside in a courtyard tent. The evening will include a cocktail reception, seated dinner, live auction and entertainment.
Join us as we amaze and inspire through art!

Tickets: $300 per person
Limited Seating Available


Purchase Tickets

Moore & Rothko


Shawna Moore “Agnition” encaustic 40″ x 30″

By Veronica Vale, Fine Art Consultant

The greatest of artists do not view their fellow artists as competitors, but instead as sources of continuous inspiration that challenge one to think more critically, to dive deeper into the depths of their emotions and the world around them, and to express in creative form the raw truth of what they find.

Montana-based encaustic artist Shawna Moore has found inspiration in the color-field paintings and philosophies of her predecessor, Mark Rothko. Like Rothko, Moore aims to create experiences through painting, using predominantly color and form. However, while all great artists are inspired by one another, to attribute an artist’s work to a single source of inspiration is to delegitimize the complex process and unique voice of the individual artist. So while Rothko and Moore share exciting aesthetic similarities, it is essential to understand the idiosyncratic differences of Moore’s work in order to truly appreciate and experience her art.

On left: detail of Shawna Moore “Borderline” encaustic 60″ x 40″
On right: Mark Rothko “Yellow and Blue” oil

Perhaps the most conspicuous difference between Moore’s and Rothko’s work is that of medium. Mark Rothko applied oil paint to canvas in sweeping, loose brush strokes while Moore works with the encaustic medium, meditating over layers upon layers of pigmented beeswax, carefully covering and revealing the history of the work’s surface. Smoothing over the layers of her work with wide brush and blow-torch, Moore tends to her work with almost maternalistic care. The clean, sharp lines that result from this process contrast starkly with the unrefined, bleeding lines of Rothko’s, just as Moore’s use of soft, quiet colors appear peacefully subtle when compared to Rothko’s highly saturated hues. Here we see how process and medium can inform aesthetic. So while Moore’s process, and in turn, her paintings, embody peace, Rothko writes of his work, “You think my paintings are calm, like windows in some cathedral? You should look again. I’m the most violent of all the American painters. Behind those colours there hides the final cataclysm.”

Shawna Moore composing preliminary watercolor studies in her studio

This sense of “violence” that Rothko describes in his own work stems from a deliberate expression of internal chaos. Mark Rothko gives insight into our innermost selves, revealing our own inner turmoil as he expresses his own. Standing before a Rothko painting, we are confronted by our collective human experience in painterly form; a sweet melancholia that reflects our purest of emotions and lays them bare for us to see. It is Rothko’s keen sense for raw emotion and his ability to transfer that emotion into experience that compels viewers to weep before his paintings, to stand in meditation for hours on end.

With a keen eye and and a careful hand, Shawna Moore gives us an experience of equally powerful effect. Rather than emphasizing the emotions within herself, Moore gives us a deeper understanding of the world around us. Through a heightened awareness of our surroundings and their underlying, universal truths, Moore delivers us to someplace achingly familiar; a crisp boundary of earth and sky, sky and sea. We stand before her work, meditating on pure landscape and it reminds us that we share this experience of nature with everything on this earth that has come before and everything that is yet to come.

Although the work of Mark Rothko and that of Shawna Moore springs from different sources of inspiration and processes, the effect on its viewers is alike. That is, within each brush stroke, between each boundary of color, lies a truth about ourselves and our world that allows us to walk away with a greater sense of unity — a feeling that we are a little more understood, a little less alone.