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The seed of these paintings were sown in France, in a tiny village where I like to go to blow the dust off the details of the career of painting to concentrate on the freedom of painting. On one occasion, I was asked to do a local exhibition of work produced in the studio. Saint Clair sur Epte is a small village in Normandy and I wasn’t expecting to sell any large paintings but I knew the French to be characteristically loyal to their friends, enjoy rousing conversation and love a great dinner party. So for the opening, I decided to make small oil paintings I could sell for 100 euros.

The night of the opening, nearly the whole town showed up, all the little paintings were sold and around 10 pm a giant table appeared and everyone sat down to a festive dinner. The success of the vernisage prompted me to do the same when I returned to my studio in Miami Beach. But the reaction wasn’t the same and the little paintings piled up on the table. Something else did happen, however, people wandering into my open studio would casually rearrange the pile of small paintings. Intrigued. I began to work on my own composition, which, I glued down to the table, cut the legs off, and sold the first assemblage in two days.

Working with multiple images provides a natural platform to explore many subjects. In my work I chose to explore themes concerning how the mind presents reality to itself. Observing your mind closely, say in meditation for instance. You might become aware of how our reality is made up of many bits of observation which the thinking mind selects, compiles, edits and presents in a continuum by incorporating memory on the present. A flow, or sense of time is deduced from this phenomenon. This sense of time is reinforced by cycles of the natural world and by subconscious awareness of changes in the body. Much of what time is is deducted from the stimuli received through five sense doors interpreted by the mind. All this combined results in a dimension of reality I call the “theatre of time”. Each assemblage is a snapshot from this theatre. One theme surrounded by various unrelated and somewhat related bits and pieces.

- Mark Rutkowski 2006


Acrylic and Oil on Canvas, 2014
140 x 140 cm
Completed in the Bali Studio
Sold at Purpa Gallery, Bali
Private Collection, Melbourne, Australia


Lotus Pund
Oil, Acrylic and Gold on Canvas, 2011
43 x 59"
Completed in the Bali Studio
Collection: Sanjay Tewari, New York


Oil on canvas board
48 x 48”
Private Collection, Georgetown, DC

The Old Man said;

“The dead bones you've left behind are heaped up the size of a mountain.”
“The stream of tears shed through countless lives in Samsara is more than all the waters in the oceans”

I stopped on my way home to pick up the small mangoes scattered on the sidewalk shocked to realize how little we settle for.

He said:

'What's blood is blood. What's flesh is flesh.”

Later, on the water watching the bubbles scurry to the surface, I passed you the surfboard, It spooked and old ray which glided off to the left, It circled it for a while and then headed for the beach.

He said:

“All that is beloved, I will be parted from.”

A swell came up and lifted us together.

The Old Man said: “Thus you shall think of this fleeting world,”

Burning, burning, burning.

“A star at dawn,” Stand proud, tall, and fight.

“A bubble in a stream,” The nimitta dances this way and that.

“A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,” Make good your mark and steady your aim.

“A flickering lamp'” Great cloud of unknowing, where do I come from, where do I go?

“A Phantom,” Doubt. Have I been wrong all this time?

“And, a dream,” Easy, little General, it was only a dream, Daddy's here

Rest your head, its gone, see? There was never anything there at all.

Mark Rutkowski 2008


Great Cloud of Unknowing
96 x 32" Oil and Acrylic 2007
Collection: Global Apparel, St. Louis, MO

You asked me to paint you,
But did you know that you would not survive the summer winds?

All the old man said was that the gate to the deathless was open,

And now looking back,

I remember the one shining moment when the both of us saw it together,
How we shook with elation at our discovery.

We took to the ether on wings of hope and longing
Singing of the 10,000 things, of the Mahamudra
Nestled squarely on the cupped hands of past and future,
We found a bird’s nest to curl up in
And cuddle in the sea oats, marl and guano.

But not revealing,
Fearing the whole thing would fold up and blow away if we uttered a word.
We held our breath and kept quiet.
Gazing into the gem, we were blinded,
Or not blinded, but,
Seeing for the first time we broke
Into silence.

We chose to keep it as it was
As silence
The silence of things being and not being,
The silence of longing and mercy,
Fate and coincidence,
Past and volition.
The good fight and all its painted ministries.


While it was still in sight, I sent an arrow into the center of its space
and time.
But once I did,
I could no longer,
feel it
or find it.

-Mark Rutkowski 2007


Daybreak, 2004

48 x 72" Oil, Acrylic and Gold

Collection: Mila Borenstein, Miami


Offshore 2005
27 x 97" Oil, Acrylic and Gold
Collection: Robin Quivers
New York, NY


In the theatre of time, The great yellow
curtains rise. She lay there on the beach,
Her head on a sand pillow that I made
for her. In my hand, A fossil from an
ancient horse that ran about this very
landscape 30,000 years earlier.

A procreate.
An orphan. Whispering of wealth and brevity. Before
we began, I watched the golden cloud shimmer,
Immaculate. Immaculate. Then: a gesture from
backstage. In this stillness, A distinction is
made between that and a sense of stirring.
Raindrops skitter on the rising swells.
Spreading wind, wings and water.
And with no thoughts for 10,000 miles,

No one to hear the tiny “c” note,
No one to taste the salty vibrations,
No one to feel the breeze cup the face,
No one to see the stone fish leap,
With no one to smell the aroma of marl and bones,
What else were we to do
But hide ourselves in each and every thing.

-Mark Rutkowski 2005


Dreaming in Winter 2003
48 x 72" Oil on panel
Collection: Patricia and Vito Spitaleri, Miami Beach

Midwinter's long nights may cause us to
sleep more thoroughly.
In this other life, dreams have dominion.
While fish linger in shallow water and the
moon casts spells on the sea,
we find ourselves cast in roles as well.
In impossible situations, we carry out
superhuman tasks within a world
that has no form. And think nothing of it.

-Mark Rutkowski 2003


I lit candles and made her tea while we sat with the night
And watched the newly hatched alligators wade
in the shallow stream.
“What do you believe in?” She asked.
A firefly passed before my eyes intruding on the theater
of my mind. I know the curtain of this theater
very well, Though it has long since risen,
Turned to dust and blown away.
The actors have all refused to leave,
They are dusty puppets in a wonder world,
Bedazzled by sparkling golden light.
Forming whole ideological societies,
They abandon passion for habit.
Choose will over wonder.
Trade hope for belief and back again.
While all of creation listens in viscous awareness,
Waiting for the wall to crumble,
We watch as our own forms and those of a million lifetimes
Blend into the golden light,
Of shimmering wanderlings,
Of wide eyed reptile infants,
Of sparkling absinthe creatures,
Of every thought we ever had,
And ever will have.
We watch as they blend into the golden light
Of a place never before seen.
And launch a lifetime’s pilgrimage.
-Mark Rutkowski- 2006

Firefly 2006
48 x 48" Oil, Acrylic and Gold

Collection: Global Apparel, St. Louis, MO


Days 2002
48 x 48"
Oil on Panel

Frasier Allport
The Constellation Group, Miami


Past 2004
48 x 72" Oil on panel

Collection: Helene and Danny Machal
New York, NY

A taste,
A sound,
It prompts a scene to appear before our mind's eye.
A tingle runs down the spine.
Recognition of a former experience.
Our past sneaks up on us:
Random. And remade.
Although we exist, irrefutably, in an eternal present,
We still pick and chose from morsels of former experience,
To nourish ourselves with pictures of cakes.
The taste leaves us disappointed and we stumble out of the
Only to find ourselves,
Sleepwalking in a Dream.

-Mark Rutkowski- 2006


Sanctuary 2005
48 x 72" Oil collage on panel

Painting Available

Send me an angel and I will swim the oceans
Paddle the river
And waken the quietly sleeping tiny fish
feeling the heat of the hot ponds skin.
"I will catch the sunlight and turn golden
And ask that you join me and swish your tail this way and
that and kickup the meadow,
Getting glimpses of shadow, light
and the dry world just
beyond the water's hot skin."
Stand in cool witness as
The meadow turns up-side-down
White invades green.
Cool for golden.
Elation for Melancholy.
Hope inside heartbreak.

All images are copyright © of Mark Rutkowski
All rights reserved.

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