John Markese is a Chicago area artist that specializes in figurative art and portraiture in a variety of mediums, but most notably oil and acrylic paints and pastels. His style is spontaneous, filled with lively brushwork and agile mark making. The palette John uses punctuates these qualities in his marks and juxtaposes unusual hues to visually describe the human form in interesting ways. He mainly paints from live models and utilizes the time constraints of painting from life to emphasize the intensity of his style.
His acrylic and pastel paintings feature human figures whose bodies are boldly decorated with hot pink, bright red, emerald green, or light blue brush strokes that conflict with how the light is reflecting off the contours. John’s paintings incorporate inspiration from visceral interpretation of perceptions, and almost subconsciously utilize Gestalt principles to group individual marks and hues into a greater object. Stylistically, subjects are painted in a loose and spontaneous style that eschews blended gradients in favor of lively and expressive marks. Many of the paintings have wash backgrounds that create an undefined or even undulating sense of space. Some figures may have an aura that defines the figure from the ground, but often becomes an object unto itself.
John was born and raised in the Chicago area, and spent much of his youth in Palatine, Illinois where he still resides. He has been studying art since he was a young child and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois in 2001.
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2001 : University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign : Bachelor of Fine Arts
2010 Jun : Face to Face : SmArt Gallery : Chicago, Illinois
2013 Nov : Chicago Pastel Painters’ 4th Biennial National Juried Exhibition : Highland Park, Illinois
2013 Nov : 32nd Pastel Society of the Southwest National Juried Show : Grapevine, Texas
2013 Oct : Starline Gallery Grand Finale Masquerade : Harvard, Illinois
2011 Sep : Coyote Arts Festival 2011 : Flat Iron Arts Building : Chicago, Illinois
2011 Jul : Gwanghwamun International Art Festival (GIAF) : Seoul, South Korea
2011 Feb : Now You See it, Now You Don’t : Flat Iron Arts Building : Chicago, Illinois
2010 Sep : Art in the Barn : Good Shepherd Hospital : Barrington, Illinois
2010 Sep : Beyond the Coyote : Flat Iron Arts Building : Chicago, Illinois
2010 May : Gilda’s Club Gala : Flat Iron Arts Building : Chicago, Illinois
2010 Apr : TheArtTrade : Ugly Stepsister Gallery : Chicago, Illinois
2010 Apr : Spring Show 2010 : Water Street Studios : Batavia, Illinois
2010 Mar : 4th Annual Emerging Artists : Morpho Gallery : Chicago, Illinois
2013 : Purchase Award : Chicago Pastel Painters’ 4th Biennial National Juried Exhibition
2013 : Portait/Figure Award : 32nd Pastel Society of the Southwest National Juried Show
2013 : Honorable Mention : Starline Gallery Grand Finale Masquerade
1996 : University of Illinois Talent Scholarship
Advanced Group Company : Chicago, Illinois