leo marmol artist

A New Angle

Surprise! Architect Leo Marmol exhibits his paintings, gives a lecture this weekend as part of Modernism Week October.

Steven Biller Arts & Entertainment, Current Digital

leo marmol artist

Leo Marmol’s painting, “Yet Nothing Stirs” (2022) appears in the group exhibition First Light–Then Shadow, opening Oct. 15 at Melissa Morgan Fine Art.

Leo Marmol, one half of the modern architecture firm Marmol Radziner, is having a coming out of sorts Saturday (Oct. 15) — as an artist — with a lecture at Palm Springs Art Museum followed by an exhibition of his paintings in a group show at Melissa Morgan Fine Art in Palm Desert.

“Over the last decade, painting has come to occupy an increasingly important segment of Marmol’s creative energy and vision,” says Steven Nash, the museum’s former director, in an essay he wrote for the occasion. The architect took up painting in the mid-1980s, while studying at California Polytechnic State University. “Around 2010-12, his painting narrowed to a more focused pattern of formal and expressive modes, associated generally with the tradition of Abstract Expressionism.”

In the lecture, Marmol will discuss the relationship between the abstract perception of color in art and architecture and our experience of being in the natural landscape. In the exhibition, he will reveal his latest series of paintings in oil and cold wax inspired by the ever-shifting color, texture and pattern of the desert.

Marmol’s “Poets Call it Sleep I” (2022) reflects the hues, colors, and forms the artists sees in the Coachella Valley.

“I have always been fascinated by the harsh sunlight’s ability to animate even the most delicate blossoms, unleashing the powerful colors of the California desert every season,” explains Marmol, who first visited Palm Springs in 1992 to see Richard Neutra’s landmark Kaufmann House, which his firm famously restored. “Existing within an intimate space between the abstract and the literal, the paintings draw heavily on the hues, textures, and forms of the Coachella Valley.”

Nash characterizes the paintings in Marmol’s “Desert Series” as “ruminative excursions into personal memories and sensations, translated into visual records through an interaction of abstraction and representation.”

While Marmol’s paintings are based in equal parts reality and imagination, the work, he says, addresses “the mercurial nature of light and color as well as the profound effects they have on perception.”

On Oct. 15, Leo Marmol lectures at 10 a.m. at Palm Springs Art Museum and unveils his paintings in the group exhibition, First Light–Then Shadow, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Melissa Morgan Fine Art in Palm Desert.

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