Contemporary realist painter and Upper Iowa University alumnus Mark Haltof will serve as an artist-in-residence on the Fayette Campus for approximately two weeks in September 2015. The exact dates have yet to be arranged as Haltof hopes to schedule his stay around the harvest season in northeast Iowa.
“The Art Department at Upper Iowa University is very excited to be hosting Mark Haltof,” said Elissa Wenthe, UIU associate professor of art. “Since graduating here, Mark has had an amazing art career that led him around the world. Mark has exhibited in numerous prestigious galleries across the nation, and is represented in many collections and museums throughout not only the U.S., but the world.”
Wenthe explained that she first met Haltof during the summer of 2014 when he returned to Fayette for an alumni reunion of “The Foxes,” a former non-Greek fraternity at UIU. It was the Maine artist’s first time back to northeast Iowa since his graduation and Haltof shared many nostalgic memories of his time at UIU and the landscape that surrounds the area.
“During our conversations I felt it was important to bring Mark ‘home’ to the University so that he could spend time painting on location during the beautiful autumn season. Fortunately, he was as equally excited to have the opportunity to return here to conduct a landscape study,” Wenthe added. “Our current students will greatly benefit from having him on location and interacting with him on a weekly basis. While he will not actually be teaching a class, the dialog exchanged between himself and our students can only enhance the work and professional experiences of our aspiring artists.”
Haltof agreed that it was his return to the Fayette Campus in 2014 that rekindled his interest in capturing the scenic beauty of northeast Iowa on canvas.
“I loved my years at Upper Iowa and my membership with ‘The Foxes’ left me with incredible memories and a group of lifelong friends,” explained the ’71 UIU graduate. “When I attended the Fox reunion I was struck by a similarity of the Maine coast and Iowa’s countryside. As a landscape artist, I would like to explore that similarity further upon my return to Iowa this fall.”
A New Jersey native, Haltof began painting the landscapes of Maine during the mid-‘70s. The summer trips with friends focused on Maine’s rocky coast and many adjacent islands. After graduating from UIU, he lived in New York City for 21 years and two additional years in Paris. Starting his art career as an agency studio artist, he eventually served as art director for some of the better known New York City agencies of the time.
In 1986, Mark and his wife Susan moved to Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Haltof now paints and teaches out of his studio in Portland, Maine. He has shown his work in galleries from Maine to California. Currently, his paintings are inspired by locations in and around Cape Elizabeth.
As an artist-in residence, Haltof will be provided studio space to work from in Edgar Fine Arts Hall. He will also be going on location to create additional pieces.