Known for his virtuosic facility with painting, drawing and printmaking, Mazur remains celebrated for his relentless drive to create and reinvent. Late Work, Rain and Flowerspresents a selection of paintings and previously unexhibited drawings that were made in the nal years of Mazur’s life.
roughout a career that spanned more than half a century, Mazur explored a range of styles, techniques and subject matter. He o en worked in series and in various media at once, experimenting with stencils, airbrushing and printing on silk. Content impelled him, whether he was responding to social injustice or absorbing aesthetic traditions of the Far East. As Mazur explained to Robert Brown in an a 1993 interview for the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, “...content drove my engine, but the form always interested me, in terms of its relationship to the content... form-making, the facture of making paintings or drawings or prints, that has interested me and had its in uence on me throughout all the work.”
is mutually constitutive relationship between form and content in Mazur’s oeuvre is particularly evident in the stylistic divergence between these two late bodies of work. While each treats an elemental form of nature, the fragility of the ower drawings presents a stark contrast to the power and dynamism of the pounding rain in the oil paintings. In the Rain paintings the viewer is subsumed, both caught in torrential downpour and somehow under water. e simultaneous horizontality and verticality in Bay Rain III (2009) suggests visual access from above as well as head-on while also presenting a Rorschach-like re ection of itself. Combined with rocks and ripples rendered in turquoise, cerulean and lavender, the resulting image evokes creation and disintegration. By contrast, Mazur’s oral drawings are delicate and minimal. Despite limited mobility during a period of recovery in the last year of his life, he produced over 100 ink drawings of plants and owers—many of which had been given to him by his wife or observed in his own garden. Executed in black ink, these intimately scaled images seem to hover, emerging and receding from the negative space.
Taken together these last works by Mazur illustrate the dueling potentialities of nature and art. As Mazur explained when the Rain paintings were rst exhibited in 2009, shortly before his death, “all good and great paintings provide a whi of mortality and, ultimately, are a celebration of the life force; they are both the tunnel and the light at its end... Light and dark, color and its absence, form and anti-form all contribute to this.”