307 Cliff Dr
Laguna Beach, California 92651

Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Tel. (949) 494-8971

The debut monograph by artist and former musician Chris Mars.

“TOLERANCE” is a Green and Fair-Trade 160 page book printed on recycled bleach free paper with vegetable based ink, featuring 159 full-color images including numerous essays written by the artist. The book is being released in conjunction with Chris Mars’ exhibition at Billy Shire Fine Arts, Sept. 13 – Oct. 4, opening reception and book signing will be on Saturday, September 13th from 7 pm – 10 pm. The exhibition will consist of 30 new oil paintings and will be Mars’ first out-of-town public appearance since 1996. Mars will also be signing “TOLERANCE” at the Laguna Art Museum on Sept. 14 from 3 pm – 6 pm.

Billy Shire Fine Arts
5790 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
phone: 323-297-0600
fax: 323-297-0601
On line press release with images: http://leejosephpublicity.com/client/show/22
Rock star, recluse, brother, activist. Artist. Chris Mars’ work graces the hallowed halls of museums throughout America and is tattooed on calves and biceps throughout the world. “Tolerance” is the long-awaited collection of his work.

Chris Mars was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1961 to parents Constance and Leroy Mars. He is the youngest of seven children. Mars’s eldest brother Joe suffered a so-called Nervous Breakdown in 1966 and was institutionalized at St. Cloud Mental Hospital. The impact of that event, along with Joe’s life-long struggle with Schizophrenia, set the groundwork for a life’s mission of championing society’s downtrodden and outcast. Mars hopes his work causes the viewer to question the nature of evaluation and labels, be it by investigating the meaning of beauty or by casting aside the exclusion of the meek, the forgotten, or the enemy.

Like many artists, Mars seeks to know Truth. In his canvases are villains and angels, though one’s initial demarcation may, as in life, prove false. Believing that truth comes through the educational exploration of a given subject, Mars offers in his work a particular truth exposed and defined through his unending personal scrutiny of self and of society and an amazing technical control of the medium.

Chris Mars was once best known as a musician, being a founder member of seminal indie/punk band The Replacements and subsequently recording four critically acclaimed – and progressively more experimental -- solo discs. His drumsticks are enshrined in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

His paintings are enshrined in the permanent collection of various museums throughout the country including The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Erie Art Museum, The Longview Museum of Fine Art, The Tweed Art Museum and The Minnesota History Center. His museum exhibition history also includes The American Visionary Art Museum, The Weisman Museum of Art, Steensland Art Museum, Art Center South Florida and soon The Phipps Center for the Arts.

“Tolerance” features 159 full color paintings created by Mars between 2000 and 2007. The book features multiple essays about various individual paintings, written by the artist himself, giving readers “the meaning” behind Chris’ motivations, thought process and symbolism.

“The central figure is a disheartened, despondent Lady Liberty, who is being probed and prodded by shady practitioners who fail to comprehend her. She's been reduced and dons a warhead dunce cap. Some smugly endorse her belittlement; some turn away. Others are aware, but feel confused and powerless. All this creates chaos; there is infighting.

The souls of those who depend on Liberty rise to her, but, broken as they are, they offer little help. The ghost wears a straightjacket, symbolic of its silenced voice.

Could this be the state of a union in its final days, in a fallout shelter or dungeon of the spirit?”
---Chris Mars on his piece “State of the Union” from “Tolerance”

Production of the book was delayed by the artist’s search for a production process in line with his values. Says Mars: “It’s a ‘green’ book, published using vegetable-based inks, on recycled, bleach-free paper. It was not made by slaves, the printing costs do not sponsor State tyranny and no child’s hands will have sewn the binding. It’s green and it’s fair-trade. It took a while to make that happen. I think I’m as proud of that as I am of the work inside it.”

Mars continues to live in and work in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a self-taught artist.

"His paintings of ghoulish, skeletal crowds and beseeching wraiths, set in gloomy environments that hark back to medieval villages, seem too vivid to have come purely from the imagination. Mars' storytelling on canvas is almost classical in its precision."
---The Rake Magazine

Tolerance by Chris Mars: Hardcover, 10 x 12, 160p, $40.00. Foreword by Julius Marcia. Release date: June 2008. Published by Billy Shire Fine Arts Press. Distributed by Last Gasp – (800) 366-5121, www.lastgasp.com ISBN: 978-0867196948

Official Website: http://www.lagunaartmuseum.org

Added by LeeJP on September 4, 2008

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