floral works of the West Village

floral works of the West Village . . .

The artist Marcus Fletcher stands before his "Sunflower #2" and "White Orchid" at Grounded, 28 Jane Street, New York City. (photo taken 06 11 2011)

Café culture has always been one of my “favorites” in the social networking sense of the word. The bohemian coffee shop with wood or concrete floors, a worn bookcase stocked with paperbacks, eclectic music on the sound system, and a few potted plants placed in various corners has always welcomed me, inspired me, and in many ways served as my public living and reading room.

The advent of laptops and personal digital devices has largely replaced actual social interaction with virtual communication. A café is now often a sterile, or at least standardized, space filled with wired people interacting with no one in the immediate room, yet there are some traditional aspects that still thrive: poetry readings, for example, and art openings.

So it was in early June when I noticed an attractive postcard announcement placed at the counter of my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, Grounded organic coffee and tea house, located at 28 Jane Street in the West Village. The card read:

Marcus Fletcher floral works

The green stem and golden petals of a sunflower still life hit me like a shot of espresso. I sat down with my drink, contemplated the reproduction of Mr. Fletcher’s painting, and began to think of myself in the third person for a moment. The coincidence of artistic subject matter, flowers, to be displayed in the favorite coffee shop of a neighbor, me, who has a writing project in progress, one devoted to wildflowers of the West Village, created one of those incandescent moments some call inspiration.

The event was added to my “must see” list and I attended the opening on June 11th. There I introduced myself to Marcus. He is friendly, relaxed, and fluent in the art of cafe conversation. He was born in Cincinnati, teaches the Spanish language when he is not painting.  As for his artistic philosophy, his creative perspective, I think it is best to let his Artist’s Statement for the floral works show speak:

“These pieces came about while working on some abstract pieces and looking at an iris that I painted in 2008. So, I wanted to do a series of them as a study/challenge and a change in subject matter. Working on these flowers has given me a contrast to the abstract pieces that I’m working on currently. However, I also feel that they also lend a needed patient approach to abstract work. And I feel that because of that patience, I’m achieving more balance and a little more movement in them (the abstract pieces) if I didn’t have the flowers to view as a contrast.”

Fletcher’s floral works series offers a moving take on the still life. His compositions rest on a base of flat color that contrasts with the nuanced depths of the flower form. The blooms themselves are no mere stiff and still portraits; he often paints stem and petal from odd angles – the rear, for example – sometimes with foreshortened perspective. These subtleties combine to create innovative images from a traditional subject; a new view that can be called Art with a capital A.

Grounded co-owner, Jen Greenberg, and her partner, Mark, can be credited for fostering a fine venue for organic tea, coffee, and sustainable local culture. Their ninety-minute seating policy, designed in part to dissuade virtual office workers, keeps things happening in the actual world. Come by, have a cup, and take a look.

Front and back view of Grounded coffee house's announcement for floral works by Marcus Fletcher. (photo taken 07 26 2011)

Artist inquiries: fletchml8@gmail.com

Grounded and Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company: http://www.groundedcoffee.com/

– rPs 07 26 2011

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