February 27th, 2019

From the Park Record

Written by Scott Iwasaki, February 26, 2019

Jared Davis rolls his glass art creation on a marver, a sheet of stainless steel, as he smooths and shapes his glass piece during a glass art demonstration.

Gallery MAR owner Maren Mullin knows her faithful collectors choose to buy fine art from her gallery over the past 11 years to enhance their homes.

To show her appreciation, Mullin began inviting them to special art events.

“We have done private dinners with our clients,” Mullin said. “We’ve done exhibitions in clients’ homes and different sort of things to bring our collectors closer to our artists.”

This year, Mullin has started holding immersive art experiences.

“With this immersive series, which are all by invitation only, our special clients can see and experience our artists as they work and showcase their lifestyles while having a good time,” she said. “We have collectors who are incredibly loyal to Gallery MAR. Anytime they look for fine art, or are in town, they come to us. And we want to reciprocate that loyalty with these experiences.”

She held the first event in January with glass artists Jared and Nicole Davis.

“We rented out a glass studio for a day and they created beautiful work of art in front of our eyes,” Mullin said. “Come full circle, the piece is now on sale at the gallery.”

The event then turned into an apres experience where the artists and collectors enjoyed food that was cooked on hot glass paired with fine wine, according to Mullin.

Gallery MAR clients John Devine and his wife, Pat, attended the glass-blowing demonstration.

“It was terrific,” Devine said. “I have seen one or two glass blowing exhibitions before, but this was at another level.”

Devine liked how the glass artists worked as a team.

“They worked in a studio, the Red Flower Glass Studio, where they never worked before,” he said. “So they were using equipment that they never used before, which is pretty adventuresome, and they created a glasswork that was just amazing.”

The piece was a fusion of two components, Devine said.

“One piece fit into a second piece,” he said. “The molten glass started off round and then they shaped it like it was clay. And what they did with shape and color and artistry was amazing.”

Devine was impressed with the piece of art, he was also impressed with the Davises.

“They were two very nice people, and they were really personable,” he said. “You start to appreciate art more when you get to know the people who create it.”

Devine and his wife moved to Park City from Newport Beach, California a little more than a year ago, and they wanted to fill their new home with local art.

“I knew Maren’s husband, Matt, who sold us our home,” Devine said. “We were aware Maren had a gallery, and she had some great pieces that wanted to fill our walls.”

The next experience was held shortly after the glass-art session, and it featured encaustic artist Bridgette Meinhold, whom Mullin discovered 10 years ago.

“There is such a great story around the art and lifestyle of Bridgette,” Mullin said. “She lives over behind Deer Valley, which is, for most of the winter, a snowmobile community.”

Mullin wanted her clients to experience what it was like living and creating art in a remote area.

“I wanted them to walk in the snow to envision what it’s like to bring the paintings up and over the hill into the gallery,” she said. “So we took 12 collectors in a van to Guardsman Pass gate and then we rented a snowcat and rode up to Bridgette’s A-frame cabin and studio.”

The group gathered in the studio, which is a reclaimed shipping container that has been remodeled with windows and a high-sloped roof, according to Mullin.

“Bridgette gave a beautiful demonstration where she showed us several of her layering techniques with the wax and (pigments),” she said.

After the demonstration, the group took the snowcat to the cabin.

“We held an apres wine pairing there where a chef made some fondue,” Mullin said. “While we were there enjoying the food and company, it started to really snow. And while the ride back down to the van was a little treacherous, but the snowcat driver was amazing.”

Last weekend, Gallery MAR hosted a third experience with Western art painter Matt Flint, whose exhibit, “Braided Path,” opened on Friday.

“Matt is from Wyoming and he is one of our most popular artists,” Mullin said. “He can’t make enough art to really satisfy our collector base.”

Flint is also an outdoor adventurer, Mullin said.

“He likes to mountain bike, and he’s a climber,” she said. “He’s also a cross-country and downhill skier. So we thought it would be appropriate to set up a snowshoe experience with his collectors.”

The group embarked on a snowshoe tour that overlooked Park City’s Main Street and re-converged at Gallery MAR for a gin tasting with Beehive Gin.

While the next experience is in the planning stages, Mullin said there is a “selfish” side to these events.

“I also get to have these wonderful experiences with our artists, who have become my friends over the years,” she said. “So, I’m just planning fun events for my friends.”

Putting together these parties is easy for Mullin, who has a background in event planning.

“I presented many events in the L.A. area and Park City before I started the gallery, so it’s nice to put some of those skills to work,” she said. “I also like working with snowshoeing outfitters, local musicians and local caterers on these events. I like seeing their businesses flourish, too.”