Artist Roger Mason donating to Telluride Medical Center’s FEAST online auction

Artist Roger Mason donating to Telluride Medical Center’s FEAST online auction

Leonardo da Vinci, an influence, had the Mona Lisa, and Roger Mason has the New Sheridan, his muse, and its setting, the town of Telluride. The New York-based painter has merged with the hotelscapes and townscapes he paints over and over again. Main Street is his local studio, where the artist stands determined to capture the fickle light as it hits our buildings, lamp posts, cars, street life, and mountains.

Roger has generously donated two posters enhanced with paint, one of his "muse," another a town scene, to  Kate Wadley's FEAST, Fund for Expanding and Supporting Telluride's Medical Center.

To understand what Roger is up to in his work, it helps to understand his influences.

Artist Mark Rothko repeatedly painted luminous color fields, creating an atmosphere of awe-inspiring spirituality.

Albert Pinkham Ryder, a solitary and a dreamer, painted pictures that reflect an rich inner life and a haunting obsession with the sea. His reputation largely rests on his "marines,"  dark, dense images of boats fighting the wind and wave under the tide-dragging moon.

Vincent Van Gogh, one of the prophets of modern art, was obsessed with the "gravity of the great sunlight effects" in Arles, Frances.

Monet painted Chartres and haystacks again and again, to capture the way light changes against an unchanging platform.

Rothko, Ryder, Van Gogh, Monet head the short list of artists Roger admires, all obsessive like him.

"The reason I paint the Sheridan again and again is because the place continues to talk to me."

Add Vermeer and Rembrandt in the mix, both virtuosic painters of light, toss in Michelangelo, a muscular painter of color, and we get closer to home.

Artist/philosopher Jasper Johns once said: "Take an object, do something to it, do something else to it. What you do alters what you want to do. In seeing one thing, we probably see many."

Roger uses the New Sheridan and other familiar vistas as excuses to capture light, color and form.
Thought you were looking at the work of a realist? Think again. Roger is an abstractionist in a realist's clothes.

Roger, who trained at New York's Pratt Institute, is also a renowned bass player. He found Telluride in 1979 while producing and playing his instrument for Peter Rowan at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

"My grandmother used to rip Rachmaninoff. My mother has perfect pitch. My older brother played jazz and my younger brother played classical piano. I am still a functional musical illiterate, but I have managed to get by. When I am functioning on all four burners, my painting is very musical to me."

Roger is also a comic in the tradition of Jon Stewart. He once co-hosted a radio program with John Goodman.

To learn more about the artist and the FEAST, watch the videocast.

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