Photo courtesy of Barbara Rose, from her book American Painting, the Eighties: A Critical Interpretation. Copyright 1979.
Mark Schlesinger was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1949. He grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Harpur College, State University of New York at Binghamton in 1971.
Following his participation in the Whitney Museum of Art’s Independent Study Program, 1971-72, Schlesinger lived and worked in a Lower East Side Manhattan loft, and worked as Lee Krasner’s studio assistant as he began and developed his career. His work was included in “American Painting: The Eighties” curated by Barbara Rose in 1979, and has been exhibited in New York, nationally and internationally. He has worked with art dealers such as William Acquavella, David Gibbs, Rosa Esman, Leo Castelli, Mary Boone, Janie Lee, Shoshana Blank, Andre Emmerich, and Amy Lipton, and in Europe with Paul Haim, Fabian Carlsson, Bernard Jacobson, Rolf Hengesbach, and Gregor Nusser.
Photo courtesy of Julie Moos. Copyright 1994.
As part of his practice, from 1982-88, Schlesinger also had a studio at a water mill on the family estate of Mary Cassatt in Pennsylvania where he worked on a group of paintings created in both the country studio and in his New York City studio.
Schlesinger received a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 1995, and in 1996, was awarded a resident fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation at its study center in Bellagio, Italy.
In late 1999, Schlesinger moved his studio to San Antonio, Texas, where he worked with Finesilver Gallery, and continued being represented in Germany by Nusser-Baumgart in Munich and Galerie Hengesbach in Cologne/Berlin.
Photo courtesy of Mark Menjivar. Copyright 2009.
In 2004, he had a mid-career solo show at the Westfaelischer Kunstverein in Muenster, Germany, entitled Paintings 1993-2003 New York-Texas. Dr. Carina Plath, Deputy Director and Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany curated the exhibition.
The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, and many other national and international publications have reviewed Schlesinger’s shows. Critics and writers such as John Yau, David Pagel, Carina Plath, Ken Johnson, Barbara Rose, Barry Schwabsky, Frances Colpitt, Klaus Kertess, Albert Mobilio, John Russell, David Ebony, Hilton Kramer, Stephen Westfall, and Raphael Rubinstein have written about his work. His paintings are included in many private and public collections, including the New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Newark Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, and The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Canada, as well as corporate collections including the Progressive Corporation and AT&T. He has lectured at museums and schools, including The Menil Collection where he has shared his studies and thoughts on Barnett Newman and the San Antonio Museum of Art where he spoke about Matisse’s JAZZ. He has published many articles including the catalog essay for a Willem DeKooning show at the Thomas Ammann Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland.
Photo courtesy of Elise Urrutia. Copyright 2018.
From 2008-2013, Schlesinger created large outdoor public paintings, including 2 bridges (110 x 45 x 23’ and 85 x 20 x 4’) on the San Antonio River, a 1.2 mile streetscape, and a 380’, 2 block long, 3-dimensional painting utilizing an 8’ high retaining wall and adjacent sidewalk. His public painting on the 9th Street Bridge over the San Antonio River was awarded, in 2010, the Best Public Project of the last 10 years by the Downtown Alliance of San Antonio.
In his work, Schlesinger is especially known for creating his own paint for whatever particular support and ground he is using, from unconventional studio paints for use on traditional materials such as canvas, linen, and wood, to new paints for unusual materials such as plastic, stone, and concrete.
In 2013, Schlesinger built a new studio in San Antonio, and returned to more human sized paintings. In 2018, his works were shown at the Patricia Ruiz-Healy Gallery in San Antonio.
Essay by Michael Schreyach. Meeting Spaces
2018. Ruiz Healy Gallery, San Antonio, Texas.
Mark Schlesinger: Paintings 1993-2003 New York-Texas
Essay by David Pagel. Painting Echoes.
Interview of Mark Schlesinger by Carina Plath. Q&A.
2004. Westfaelischer Kunstverein, Muenster, Germany.
Essay by Carina Plath. When is Painting? Tradition and Topicality in the Paintings of Mark Schlesinger.
1996-1997. Rolf Hengesbach, Wuppertal, Germany.
Poem by Albert Mobilio. Held , Over for Mark Schlesinger.
1995. Rolf Hengesbach, Wuppertal, Germany.
Mark Schlesinger Paintings 1993
Poem by John Yau. Fifty for Mark Schlesinger.
Essay by David Pagel. Painting’s (S)pace.
1993. Lipton/Owens Company, New York, New York.