March 10th, 2023

Gallery MAR will offer interactive meetings and artist demonstrations with abstract acrylic painter Michael Kessler prior to his new exhibit on March 16. Gallery owner Maren Mullin wants to connect Kessler and local art lovers in a setting that is more relaxed than a one-night artist reception.
Courtesy of Gallery MAR

Painter on tap for demonstrations and conversations

Gallery MAR is adding some more color to its artist and client relationships.

During award-winning abstract acrylic painter Michael Kessler’s visit to open a new exhibit next week, gallery owner Maren Mullin will set up meetings between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, and Friday, March 16, where collectors and curious art lovers will have opportunities to talk with the artist and watch him do in-gallery demonstrations.

“People can contact the gallery and make appointments, or they can just stop by,” she said. “He will also be at the gallery for a portion of the evening on Friday, but it won’t be in a formal artist reception setting.”

Michael Kessler

In addition, Gallery MAR will host a private dinner with Kessler’s top collectors, according to Mullin.

“If someone is really interested in seeing one of his pieces in their home, this would be a great time to set that up, because this is an opportunity to showcase his artwork we have in the gallery and discuss custom pieces,” she said. “We can talk about commissions, and make suggestions of what he can do. We can go on home visits if they are seriously considering a commission.”

Michael Kessler, “Quicksilversticks (3)”

Gallery MAR has represented Kessler, who won the 1990 Rome Prize for Painting from the American Academy in Rome, almost since its inception 15 years ago, Mullin said.

“Michael is a gallery favorite who is an abstract expressionist,” she said. “He loves spending time in the outdoors. He is an avid fisherman, climber and hiker, and his pieces are all inspired by his time in nature.”

Many of his works convey imagery that brings to mind forests, estuaries and plant life, Mullin said.

“There are some really beautiful layering and happy accidents in his works, too,” she said. “One of the reasons why he loves having a gallery in Utah is because he can come and go fishing.”

The events with Kessler expand on artist experiences Gallery MAR has offered clients years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mullin said.

“We have facilitated immersive collectors experiences that have included studio visits as well as snowshoeing, glass blowing and ax throwing seasons with artists,” she said. “Those were all by invitation only, so we wanted to find a way to open things up to those who aren’t collectors yet.”

Mullin feels one of the most important parts of being a gallery owner is to help strengthen the connection between the artists she represents with the public.

“Oftentimes, an artist reception during an exhibit opening runs maybe two or three hours, so the time is limited,” she said. “We want to be more flexible and space things out, so people and artists can have relaxed, honest and fulfilling conversations with each other.”

Mullin said Gallery MAR may not do this with every artist and exhibit opening, but it will consider doing it more often if it works.

“Sometimes ideas work and sometimes we fail forward,” she said. “But If this is a success, we will definitely bring artists in for longer periods of time and do more personalized experiences for our collectors. That’s our motto: ‘Fresh art, bold vision.’”