Published in New Glass Review 32, 2011; juror Mark Zirpel's thoughts on his selections for the "Juror's Choice".
Richard Marquis, artist. Almost everything I see of Dick's is the result of a focused effort to figure out how to do something really well. I admire that. His persistence and dedication in continuing to learn and to push the possibilities are notable. I can only hope to remain as creative as he is for as long as he has.
Published in The Glass Art Society 2005 Journal in reference to the GAS 2005 Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award:
I guess because I write about Dick, people think that I am an expert on him or something. But, let's get this straight: Dick is unpredictable and he is pretty much unknowable. I think that what I wrote for the jacket of his book might be a good place to begin:
Richard Marquis, glassblower and collector of beat-up, vintage objects, has had an extraordinary influence on the development of contemporary studio glass in America and around the world.
This is not my opinion, it is fact, and an impressive one it is. So, in a short bio, what can you say after that? That his prolific body of astonishingly original, challenging, and exquisitely executed work illustrates his boundless range and exceptional versatility as an artist? I could say that and do, with complete conviction.
Rummaging through my notes, I found the following helpful information for those who wish to know Dick better.
In a conversation about art (which Dick says is always a conversation about pretensions), he mentions that every single piece he makes and has made is titled Man's Inhumanity to Man: (MIM), and that all of his "titles" are really just subtitles. His delivery is earnest, yet he is being totally ironic.
Guidance for the collector:
Dick is attracted to the strangest stuff and every time you mention something, anything - an Art Deco hotel sign, a 50's chair, World's Fair memorabilia, a piece of farm machinery - he either says: oh, I have one of those, or oh, I need some of those.
Most puzzling: not his bowling ball pyramid but the extensive collection of unexposed, expired film.
Finally, I must add how impressed I am by Dick's unending curiosity and possession of all kinds of knowledge, such as auto mechanics and art history. And that's just the "A"s.
Also published in the 2005 GAS program guide, Nick Mount was once heard to say:
Dick Marquis arrived down under in 1974 with a pioneering spirit, enormous interest in what he could see and find, and a huge capacity to be generous with his skills and information.
What he took home is just a drop in the ocean of his extensive collections, while what he left behind after that and subsequent visits helped lay the foundation for the development of the Australian glass movement of today.
You have to love the man with so much to give, who is not afraid to give it, and whose pool game tails off at the same rate as mine does, given the intake of adult beverage.
Quote from Regina Hackett, "Seattle Post-Intelligencer" Art Critic's review of Whole Elk Theory at the Elliott Brown Gallery, July 6, 2001:
"While Dale Chihuly is the tide that raised all boats, Marquis is the craft intelligence that made the vessels seaworthy. He taught the second generation of American glass artists that skill extends freedom instead of limiting it. With his mandarin technique, he makes his stumblebum world come alive."
Quote from Randy Gragg, "the Weekly" art critic's review of Inventory 1978-1986 at Foster/White Gallery, July 23-29, 1986:
"But equally influential was Funk Art, a movement that debuted in 1967 with an exhibition in Berkeley, where Marquis was attending graduate school. California Funk is typified by a reverence for craft that grew out of the 'Drop-Out' generation's reaction against mass production. Its wryly funny, idiosyncratic content was a response to the brainy formalism strangling high art at the time. Funk's paradigm proved to be a perfect fit to Marquis' technical prowess and his always active sense of humor. Inventory 1978-1986 is a mini-retrospective of his work housed in a simple framing-stud-and-glass-pane case. Containing as many found objects as actual works, the installation is a look inside the type of profoundly cluttered mind that is the trademark of the Funk sensibility."