Marcia Klioze says that she was always interested in drawing the human figure. At 17, she started college at Corcoran School of Art but left after two years because the educational focus was on abstract art rather than her interests in human representation. 1970 at the Corcoran was all about DC’s Color Field painters, Andy Warhol and abstraction. She would leave class to draw the people on the streets of Washington, DC. Her first paying job was as a caricature artist on the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD. That work led to her producing cartoons and editorial portraits for both major Washington DC newspapers. Several thousand sketches and drawn portraits have provided her true education in how to represent people, faces and figurative elements in her paintings. Today, in addition to producing art, Klioze teaches and hosts other Artist Workshops at Atelier In The Garage in Leesburg, VA. Affordable, affable and comfortable; these workshops offer an education opportunity for many skill levels.
The struggle between abstraction and the Artist’s desire to accurately depict a person’s physical likeness remains with Ms. Klioze even today. “Not until recently did I really appreciate where abstract painting comes from and that it is still representational.” She explains that successful portraiture begins with drawing and painting the basic “blocks” as she composes the image. “A painter starts with the big basic shapes of a figure and refines the work to the level of detail” we see when the work is finished. “Its what Picasso was doing when, as a Cubist, he depicted the nose pointing in one direction and the eyes looking the other way… showing how the face turns.” These early “sketches” on canvas are, as Marcia claims, are the abstract state of the portrait.
What makes successful portrait painting so difficult to achieve is that our ability to recognize faces and personage is so highly developed that some neuro scientists believe it is humanity’s most evolved cognitive skill. Our infant ability to distinguish between our caregivers and a threat is directly linked to our survival as a species. Before we can speak or walk, we can recognize the nourishing protective parent that keeps us alive long enough to become self-defending. When we view contemporary art, facial recognition we know beyond a doubt that a portrait is accurate or contains that unique personal trait which confirms the image is our loved one or famous person and when it fails to do so.
To be sure, Ms. Klioze paints a broad range of subjects beyond the human form. Her paintings include still life, landscape, pets and animals in nature. All these works contain an elusive emotional character that elevates her painting from good to great. “My strength and my passion have always been in my ability to capture personality, or "essence." Marsha Klioze’s images convey personality and the emotion we feel when viewing that stunning sunset, the tense moment before a bird takes flight from its perch or painted red tomatoes so fresh the viewer salivates with the anticipation of their tartness.