oil on canvas
11.75 x 14.75 x 1.5 inches in thin black painted wood stripping
This horizontal, contemporary figurative painting of a nude male was made by Mark Beard under his fictitious artistic persona, Bruce Sargeant. Painted in a modern Academic style, the nude man in a seated contrapposto pose, faces away from the viewer towards his extended leg. The man's blush red cheeks and lips contrast against his stone-like grey blue skin. Seated against a white cloud filled mountainous landscape with blue sky, the figure leans back gracefully on a single rock, exposing his muscular athletic build. Framed in a simple black painted wood stripping, the painting completed on canvas is signed in the upper left corner in red paint, 'B. Sargeant'.
Painted in a style that evokes the portraits of John Singer Sargent, Mark Beard is the living artist who paints under the pseudonym "Bruce Sargeant".
Mark Beard is perhaps the most literal example of an artist pulled in so many different directions that he chose to “invent” six different personae in which to channel his overflowing energy and need for expression. Each painting style is radically different from the next, so it remains entirely believable that the work could stem from six completely different people of different time periods and different schools of thought. With a background in set design, Beard has always been one who could conjure total magic with anything available. For this exhibit, he returns as the beloved 20th century painter from England, Bruce Sargeant, featuring a parade of Arcadian scenes suggesting afternoons of young men sporting in the countryside, rowing, bicycling, hunting or wrestling. Clean shaven, well manicured youths pose casually, indulging every opportunity to display a titillating flex of stone-like musculature. Like modern Greek statues, Beard paints these prestigious figures oftentimes in pairs of twos and threes in a lazy state of beautiful passivity. Mark Beard keeps himself fresh with challenge, undertaking ambitious commissions and committing to weekly sketch sessions with live models in his Manhattan studio. The result of this dedicated practice is a stunning array of graphite and conte crayon drawings on Arches paper. Mark Beard has exhibited with Carrie Haddad Gallery for nearly twenty years and there has never been a dull moment.
A visit to Mark Beard’s studio is like discovering Michelangelo’s lair: oil paintings layer the walls, lifedrawings litter the table at the feet of heroic bronzes; ceramics, architectural maquettes are everywhere; virtuosity, in every medium. And then it gets even more interesting.
Mark’s talent is so overflowing that, years ago, he needed to channel himself into alter egos. Mark invented the persona of “Bruce Sargeant,” an imagined English artist, contemporary of E. M. Forster, Rupert Brooke, and John Sloan. Mark also created Bruce Sargeant’s teacher, Hippolyte-Alexandre Michallon, a 19th-century French Academist. Michallon also taught Edith Thayer Cromwell, an American avant-gardeist; and Brechtolt Steeruwitz, the German Expressionist, a most complex personality. Peter Coulter, the newest persona, represents the "third generation" as he was taught briefly by Thayer Cromwell and Streerowitz. The style of each of these artists is individual, brilliant and true.
Mark Beard is unprecedented, but not singular. Accomplished in every medium, he is more than a complete artist—he is at least six.
Mark Beard, born in 1956 in Salt Lake city, now lives in New York City. His works are in museum collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; and the Harvard, Yale, and Princeton University Art Museums; among many others. We would not be the least bit surprised to see new ‘personas’ emerge in the coming years.
About Mark Beard
American, b. 1956, based in New York, NY, United States