The purpose of my artwork is to provoke a perceptual, internal, and intellectual response for the viewer; A visual that speaks to life's experiences. To create symbols of universal connection and the relationship that one has to another and to nature.
I enjoy the challenge of working with permanent and natural materials. Unlike other materials or mediums where one can add or delete, with natural material, one can only delete. The materials often dictate to me the direction in which the design is supposed to head. It is my belief that as we go through life we can only create from that which we have, or are given. We cannot replace that which is lost or taken away or that which we never had. The ability to interpret and create beauty from that which we have is the challenge and the satisfaction I experience in creating my work.
As I work through the creative process of visualizing, drawing, or forming a maquette in clay,I utilize a sixth sense I feel through my hands. I am able to draw upon the subconscious of my experiences and, in-turn, interpret gesture, form, energy, pleasure and pain. Alternating between gesture and geometric form, depicting the contradiction we experience in nature, awakening in the viewer an appreciation of the duality in the world around us.
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY
Mark Yale Harris realized his passion in the Southwest; stone carving became his life’s work, as Santa Fe became home in the late 1990s. Dedicating himself to creating in 1996; with much to learn, the artist chose a mentor who he had long admired to assist with honing his burgeoning artistic skills, sculptor Bill Prokopiof (Aleut, 1944-1999). In the spirit the nation’s most recognized Native American artist, Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache, 1915-1994), Prokopiof and sculptor Doug Hyde (Nez Perce), took Harris under their wings, generously sharing their immense knowledge, talent, and vision. Inspired by the geographical region and grounded in the knowledge of his teachers, he began feverishly creating sculpture.
Transitioning into the life of a full-time artist required Harris’s passion to become his profession as well. Prior to developing as an artist, Harris spent many years in the area of sustainable urban development (specifically real estate and hotels), a conventional career in which he was quite successful, but not fully satisfied. The transition into a wholly fulfilling trade, was both challenging and exciting. The artistic passion that had existed just beneath the surface of Harris’s long-established business persona was finally able to present itself in tangible form. He accessed the invaluable experience of his mentors, along with his own vision, to create an evolving body of work in alabaster, marble, limestone, and bronze, often combining different elements to bring forth a duality through creation.
Over the past twelve years Harris has continued to challenge himself as a sculptor, finding it important to continue learning and teaching. Several intensive workshops, including studies with Terry Allen, Jo Harvey and James Surls, have expanded his understanding immensely. Harris’s charitable endeavors have been numerous; he sites his work with Fine Art for Children and Teens (FACT) in Santa Fe, New Mexico as especially gratifying.
In 2006, the artist challenged himself to create tabletop-sized maquettes in monumental proportions. The first piece in this scale, Crush (61"x80"x20.5"), was met with rave reviews from critics and art afficionados alike. Due to Harris’s ongoing examination of the sculptural form and progress within his medium, his work continues to be widely sought after and exhibited by reputable art venues.
Current works can be found in many public collections, including: Booth Western Art Museum - Cartersville, Georgia; Herman Memorial Hospital - Houston, Texas; State of New Mexico - Ruidoso, New Mexico; Four Seasons Hotel - Chicago, Illinois; and Thompson Crossing Sculpture Park - Fort Collins, Colorado. Furthermore, Harris’s sculpture has recently been featured at the Open Air Museum - Ube, Japan; Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art - Biloxi, Mississippi; Polk Museum of Art - Lakeland, Florida; City of Roanoke Historic District - Roanoke, Virginia; and The Village Green Sculpture Park - Cashiers, North Carolina. Harris’s sculpture is represented by twenty galleries nationwide. Additionally, Mark Yale Harris, A Retrospective was published in 2006, and an updated version was reprinted in 2008. This book documents the important works created thus far in this sculptor’s career.
Brief Business Related Biography
Mark Yale Harris began his successful career in the business world in 1972 as the Cofounder of Red Roof Inns. This endeavor resulted in his first chain including over 300 hotels across the United States. Over a decade later, as Founder of Amerisuites Hotels, Mr. Harris actualized a new concept which changed the face of the limited service hospitality industry. Amerisuites was an innovator in offering one of the first available affordable suite accommodations. Amerisuites grew to inhabit approximately 100 locations throughout the states.
A fondness for his home area in Texas inspired his participation in several Austin based foundations, in which he could utilize his experience, focus and finely honed management skill set. His Chairmanship with the Urban Land Institute, Austin District council 1998-2000 led to his participation as Chairman of the 2nd Annual Smart Growth Conference also in Austin, Texas in 1999.
Over the past decade Mr. Harris has evolved his business interest to include many successful endeavors in Real Estate, as both an Investor and a Developer. While continuing to maintain several ventures from his former business life, Mr. Harris relocated to Santa Fe in 1999 to explore his lifetime fascination and passion for the visual arts. His sculpture has been featured in several museums and other prestigious venues. Currently Mr. Harris' work is exhibited in twelve galleries throughout the United States including Mary Martin Gallery in Charleston, SC.