Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Marxhausen's Lent Art 2

There's minimal differences between these two photos, but I thought I'd post both anyway.

This piece uses the "flurries" Marxhausen loved to work with. One of Amber's post gave you a look inside Marxy's studio where students got to play with these flurries.

- Duncan

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today is Ash Wednesday!

This piece by Marxhausen commemorates Lent.

I was curious if there were 40 colored pieces, but the number was well over that.

Its dark background may have been chosen because the color black is used to symbolize Christ's death on Good Friday. I see a cross-shape created by the rubber band stretched across the brightly colored pins. Prof. Anschutz recalled that Marxhausen made this cross lop-sided, and the rubber bands essentially submit to gravity and sag, representing the sin that made Christ's sacrifice a necessity.

- Duncan

The Open Book

I love the sun! After days of gloomy, cloudy days, it finally peeked through on Ash Wednesday! This sculpture by Marxhausen was photographed around 1:10 p.m.

Note how the snow in the first is so close to the color and texture of the statue, you don't notice it until you look at the right half of the picture, where sunlight reflects off of just the snow.

[Update] One of Marxhausen's former students remembered that Marxy would run around campus taking photographs when it would start to snow, then ask his class about to find compositions and elements of design in the photos. Isn't it strange that I observed the way snow affected his Open Book sculpture before hearing this story? You can read the story in the "What do you remember?" section.


- Duncan

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Comments on Amber's post

This comment was posted on Amber's post on the original blog site:

This was an amazing day. It was my privilege to communicate God's love to His precious children. I have many stories to share after visiting with these people, but I have to share about my meeting Marxhausen for the first time, in particular.

I thought it would be a neat idea to look at a book about Medieval Art with the residences, so I pulled one off the shelf that had a nice velvety-feel to it. There was a griffin stamped onto the cover, and it had a smooth texture in comparison. I passed the book around to those sitting at the table with me and let them feel the book cover and asked them if they knew what the figure stamped onto the cover was.

The book made its way to Marx. I asked him if he knew what the figure was and he gave a quick nod and a beat on his breast. He knew what it was. I could tell he was frustrated that he couldn't communicate that verbally.

I told him it was a book about art. His eyes lit up. I smiled warmly as I saw those quivering hands flip through every page. Those tired eyes darted in every direction on the pages, soaking in every detail and insight too profound to express in what the Lord has deemed right to take away from him.

Placing his hand over the griffin, he returned the book to me in a way that expressed deep gratitude and love. I can't fully explain how he did so, but I knew that this dear old man was moved in a powerful way.

It was only after this that one of my fellow writers informed me as to who this man was. I was blown away. Marx continues to fulfill his role as teacher, but in the gentlest, most profound ways. I was blessed, and I hope this story blesses you as well.

February 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAustin Albers

Visiting Ridgewood

This past Saturday, the writer's group on campus here visited Ridgewood retirement center and delivered handmade Valentine's cards to all of the residents with a bible verse written on the inside about Jesus' love.

I didn't even have to look for Marxy! He was right there. He nodded that I could take his picture. I showed him what it looked like after I had taken it (oh the marvels of digital cameras), he looked right at me and nodded his approval :)

Marxy has Alzheimer's.

Being there with my camera, it made me think of the video Marx had made when he found out he had this disease. He did different workshops with residents at nursing homes and the one in the video he took photographs of the people and then also did a drawing of the photographs and hung them all up on a wall, like a gallery. The exercise was to help raise their self-esteem again and show them their beauty--many of the elderly had a negative opinion of themselves. I'll see what I can do to get that up here...

Although I did not go there with that same intent (we were delivering Valentine's! And it was fun!), I did take a few pictures.

They were so delighted to have us college students go and visit!

Here, they were creating rain-sticks out of toilet paper rolls and tin foil:

The woman standing is Jan, an assistant, and she's so good with them!

Giving Valentine Cards:

This lovely lady loved to sing. We told her she had a pretty voice, and this was the surprised look she gave us:

Austin, explaining the verse about Jesus:

This little lady was sweet--she asked for a copy of her picture.

-Amber Dawn

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ash Wednesday and Art for Lent

Ash Wednesday is this week, and I plan to share photos of Marxhausen's artwork honoring Lent every week leading up to Easter. Be sure to check back this Wednesday to see the first photos in this series!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cow's Knees

Marxhausen would often take his class to a run-down barn near campus. At first glance, a lot of the objects around the area looked forlorn and ugly, but Marxhausen taught his students how to find beauty in these things.

Aesthetics…has to do with beauty. Beauty is not just necessarily things that are pretty or cute or nice.

There was a rough, metal pane the cows had rubbed their knees against every day for decades whenever they got a drink of water. When he first took a closer look, Marxy discovered those cows had created a rainbow of colors on the metal. He said an artist would be proud to achieve that subtle range of color in a painting.

This 5"x 5" piece by Marxhausen shares a similar quality: what at first looks like a rough, sickly brown object, actually has a range of vivid colors. Marchausen also talked a great deal about how different light sources can completely change how we perceive objects, so I included two views of the same object, one with a stronger light source.

- Duncan

Comment from the original site:

This is true! Beauty IS all around us. Thanks for the reminder. :)

February 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Own Little World

We all have our own unique, little miniature world.

Quote by Marxhausen during interview for "Time Lines."

You've probably seen a lot of t-shirts with funny messages printed boldly on the front. Some of those shirts can be insipid, but one I've seen which I can identify with says this: "I live in my own little world, but that's okay, they know me there."

Often, I find myself slipping off into my own little world, sometimes even something in a conversation can spark my imagination, and suddenly I'm gazing at nothing. I agree with Marxy that everyone has there own little world; it's just that some people spend more time there than others. For an artist, this time spent reflecting on what our eyes have taken in is even more important.

When Leonardo da Vinci was in the process of painting his ill-fated masterpiece, The Last Supper, one of the monks grew impatient because Leonardo spent so much time staring blankly and seemingly getting nothing accomplished. Leonardo defended himself in a sharp letter to the monk's superior, explaining that these times of mental contemplation were even more important than applying the paint.

One of my Professors explained that painting is an intellectual process; you have to have a plan.

It seems to me when Marxhausen went into his own little world, it was because he was observing something fleetingly beautiful in nature. He spent hours talking about his ideas of beauty and light in interviews for documentaries, and that was a recurring theme. When he spent time in his own little world, Marxy could find art in pencil boxes, coat hangers, and piles of napkins.

- Duncan