Following a lifelong interest in art that began during his childhood, Mark Charles Rooney began painting seriously in 1975. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1981 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Md. in 1983. He also spent a semester studying art in Rome, Italy in 1980. Since 1983, Mark has combined a painting and teaching career that together form the nucleus of his artistic niche. He currently maintains a studio in Hazleton, Pa. and is a Professor of Fine Art at Penn State University. In addition, he also teaches classes at the Hazleton Art League. Prior to moving to Hazleton, Pa. Mark was a regular part-time Professor of Art at Montgomery College in Takoma Park, MD from 1987 until 2006. He has also taught fine art at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and several other colleges and art schools in the greater Washington DC area. Furthermore, he has taught art to children, the elderly, and people with Alzheimer’s disease and other physical and psychological impairments. He has also given lectures and tours on art at many of Washington DC’s museums and galleries.
Mark has been exhibiting his work locally, nationally, and internationally since 1979. A partial listing of his most recent exhibits include shows at AFA Gallery, Scranton, Pa. in January 2014, the Phoenix Village Art Center, Phoenixville, Pa. in August 2013, New Visions Gallery, Scranton, Pa. in March 2012 and the Woman’s National Democratic Club, Washington DC in October 2010. His work has also been included in group shows in New York City at Studio 5404 Art Space in 2014, New Century Artists in 2010, Climate Gallery in 2009, Artists Space in 2007 and 2008 and the Asian Fusion Gallery in 2006. Notable exhibits in the greater Washington DC area include shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2003, District Fine Arts Gallery in 2000, Signal 66 Art Space in 1996, Anton Gallery and the District of Columbia Arts Center in 1991, Washington Project for the Arts in 1990 and many other galleries and art spaces too numerous to mention. He has also shown his work nationally and internationally in galleries in Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore, MD, Richmond, VA, Chicago, ILL, Munich, Germany and Woodstock, VT. In addition, he had a very successful two-person exhibit at the Shridharani Gallery in New Delhi, India in 1998. This exhibit and a concurrent 5 week stay in India has informed Mr. Rooney’s thought and work ever since.
His most recent art, a series of mixed media works ultilizing elements of photography, painting and sculpture attempts to capture in both abstract and representational ways various ideas about the nature of being, and the metaphysical relationship of humans to their world. His art is very influenced by his travels and his knowledge of Art History and Philosophy. He is particularly interested in the Hindu concept of the Maya and therefore “ the world as illusion” has become his primary subject matter. How photography and other forms of representation influence our relationship to the “natural” world is also a recurring theme. His goal is to make “photographs look like paintings” as opposed to the other way around. Drawing on sources as diverse as Hinduism, Buddhism, Renaissance and Abstract Expressionist painting, Rene Descartes, Albert Einstein, nuclear physics, and his own Catholic upbringing, his art is an attempt to question “what is real” and what forces in society and nature shape our perception of reality. Mr. Rooney believes that the many lives we lead are a journey toward goodness and each dream of life we experience is a challenge and a test preparing us for the ultimate reality of being without form.