Skip to navigation

The Mark

Lutes, Jim

The Mark

egg tempera on panel

2007 Purchase funded by Friends of the Clay Center in Honor of Edward H. Maier

Jim Lutes began his career in art in the 1980s with urban landscape paintings that emphasized the decadence and decay in contemporary culture. Distorted human fugures in his paintings represented the failure of the "American Dream". In the late 1990s, Lutes started to use egg tempera as his painting medium. Egg tempera is a mixture of egg yolk , water and powdered pigments that is prepared by the artist because it is not commercially produced like oil, acrylic and watercolor paint. Tempera paint is applied in thin layers with each layer of color affected by the color beneath it. Because egg tempera dries fast, colors are not easily blended and the artist must work quickly. The nature of egg tempera prevents thick application of paint (impasto) for texture, therefore paintings in this medium tend to have a flat surface without evidence of brushstrokes.

Gestural looping marks characterize Lutes's paintings. In "The Mark" the subject's shoulders and head disappear into a field of looping marks. Several allusions to a "mark" are in the painting, such as the piece of paper attached to the subject's back.