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Chris Mars
February 24th – March 24th, 2024

Northport, NY– Haven Gallery is pleased to present “Equinox”, a solo exhibition of new work by Minnesota based artist Chris Mars. “Equinox” is Mars’s third solo show with the gallery and will feature thirteen oil paintings inspired by the moment of time in which both the light or day, and the dark or night, are equally represented in length. A symbolic time when all life mutually shares this balance and reminder of the connection and sameness amongst us.

Mars brilliant use of color and light reflect that of the equinox, but even more, the beauty and soul of his sitters. Known for portraying the oppressed and outcasted, deeply inspired by the experiences of his older brother in mental health, Mars canonizes his figures and bears their souls. Emotion, love, strife and other emotions draw and connect the viewer to the sameness that we all share as humans.

Artist Statement
Twice each year, the forces of nature remind us that equality is possible. Twice each year, every living thing bound to planet Earth will experience – consciously or unaware – an absolute balance of day and night. The specifics of this grand celestial equity will not happen as a simultaneous event; it will present itself as a series of events as the world turns, the sun rises, the sun sets. Each human being standing and breathing within their own terrestrial reality will, as they might any other day, have the opportunity to look at another human being’s place in time with joy or resentment, celebrating or just believing that someone else has more light or darkness than they do. But the fact of such an experience is that, on a given day twice each year, in light and dark at very least, we are all the same.

On our longest night we can be certain that our longest day is coming. Yes, the extremes can be hard to navigate. But nature itself dictates the extremes will not last. Nature seeks balance, just like I do.

My palette is based on the equinox. My work advocates for the spirit it embodies.

Chris Mars was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1961, the youngest of seven children. When Mars was five years old, his eldest brother, Joe, was institutionalized for Schizophrenia. Memories of the archaic institution, society’s prejudgment, medical anonymity and famial shame had a profound impact on the young Mars, setting him on a life path of creative expression seeking to “…free the oppressed; to champion the persecuted, and the submissive; to liberate through revelation the actualized Self in those proposed by some to have no self at all.”

Mars’s work has exhibited in museums worldwide including Halle St. Pierre (Paris), Casa Dell’Architettura/Acquario (Rome), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (CA), Laguna Art Museum (CA), Ruby Green Contemporary Art Space (TN), Grand Central Art Center (CA), Haas Fine Arts Center (WI), Art Center South Florida (Miami), Ft. Wayne Museum of Art (IN) and Louisville Visual Arts (KY), as well as American Visionary Art Museum (MD), Longview Museum of Fine Arts (TX), Museum of Fine Arts Florida State University (FL), Minnesota History Center (St. Paul), Mesa Contemporary Arts (AZ), The Tweed Museum of Art (MN), Weisman Art Museum (MN) and Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN), each of which hold Mars’s work in the permanent collection.

Additionally an accomplished filmmaker, Mars’ work has screened at numerous prestigious festivals worldwide including Sundance, SXSW, Jerusalem International, Denver Starz, Palm Springs Shortfest and many more.

As founding member of the seminal Minneapolis band The Replacements, Mars has also been a Grammy nominee. Subsequent to his departure from the band, Mars released four acclaimed solo albums before dedicating himself full time to visual art. Now twenty-two years after his last release, Mars is releasing another album in November of 2017. All proceeds from “Note to Self” will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland, a Minnesota-based food shelf serving the upper Midwest.

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