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Wild ride

Cassie Pence

VAIL – During a Markus Pierson art exhibit in Houston, Texas, a very astute-looking businessman in his late 50s diligently walked from piece to piece, studying every aspect and reading every word Pierson had written. When he was finished, the businessman said to Pierson, “I can sum up what this body of work is about in one word.”Pierson looked at him and thought that this must be some kind of joke. The artist couldn’t possibly imagine what that one word would be.”The word,” said the businessman, “is impermanence.””Being alive is an impermanent state. And to grab your life, grasp its tentative sense, to embrace the fact that it is going to end and you have to live it very deeply is definitely what the Coyote Series is all about,” Pierson said.Pierson decided long ago, after conquering the often terminal illness Crohn’s Disease, that his life will be one reckless ride until the day he breathes no more. His Coyote Series celebrates life’s ups and downs. His nutty canines remind onlookers of life’s temporal status, knocking apathy in the head.”I’ve climbed up to the highest mountain I could find, and I’m yelling it at the top of my lungs virtually every time I pick up a paint brush,” Pierson said.Pierson first created the coyote drawings for himself. He set the pictures up in his tiny apartment, and they would cheer him up. There was something about the animated dogs that would make Pierson feel brighter.”I knew that the Coyote Series would have an effect on people because of the effect that they had on me,” Pierson said.Pierson considers the coyote character like an ultimate Christmas present because it allows him to express both joyous and grave sentiments of life. “I can say things in a more frank manner because I use what appears to be a light-hearted vehicle to be the messenger,” Pierson said.His coyotes share common elements. All the coyotes wear glasses because it allows anonymity. Our eyes are the windows to our souls, and the coyotes are coy and like to keep people guessing. The coyotes also like to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, despite the adversities in life. Because they shade their eyes, the coyotes large hands reveal emotion.Blue coyotes have had their heart broken. These coyotes are better for having gone through the experience. They wear their blue skin as a badge of honor.The female coyotes are always much larger than the males. This represents the important place of women in Pierson’s world – his sisters, his wife and his mother, who inspired his latest endeavor, an art history book titled “But I Digress, A Coyotes View of Art History.”Pierson stops in Vail at Masters Gallery today and Friday from 4-8 p.m. to promote his newest art history works and book.When he first became popular, Pierson would try and explain to his mother what was happening to him. “I would say, ‘Mom I’m hanging in a gallery, and they also show Salvador Dali,” Pierson said. “And she would say, ‘Who?'”So he created a book that provides a whimsical perspective on art history’s most legendary figures. You can read this book and be able to understand why certain artists made history and why their works hang on gallery walls.”I knew the stories that could come of it or the interest a person could find it in would be more than worth while if they just could get past that bi-foculed, musty, tweed-suit smelling attitude that you find most art historians have,” Pierson said.For more information on the artist’s reception and book signing, contact Masters Gallery at 477-0600.


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