MARC AWODEY

Obituary
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MARC AWODEY * my house seemed empty so I made 100 paintings now it's too small! * - BURLINGTON - Burlington artist, Marc Awodey, died suddenly on Oct. 13, 2012, at his home. Marc was born on Nov. 4, 1960, in Birmingham, Mich., and received his BFA from Johnson State College and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. A modern renaissance man, Marc was an awardwinning painter, poet, writer, noted musician, activist and numismatist. He served on the faculty of Johnson State College, the Community College of Vermont and, for many years, Burlington College, and also taught art at the Massachusetts College of Art and Oakland University. For over a decade he was the resident art critic for the Vermont weekly Seven Days, he also co-founded the online Vermont Art Zine and was the Vermont Regional Editor of Art New England. A characteristic achievement was his winning of the 2000 Haiku Poetry Championship at the National Poetry Slam in Providence, R.I., after spontaneously entering the competition unprepared. Marc published several books of original poetry, invented the poetry vending machine, founded and ran the influential Rhombus Gallery in downtown Burlington, and was a longtime fixture in the local music scene as a bassist in several bands. He was also active in Burlington politics, performed many civil unions as Justice of the Peace, and was a member of the Vermont secession movement. But foremost, Marc was a gifted and visionary painter. He had an extraordinary capacity for creating vivid depictions of everyday scenes, drawn from a deep well of creative imagination, producing results that are often both visually striking and intensely personal. His works, many of which depict Vermont scenes in a unique way, are held in public and private collections around the world. In addition to art, he enjoyed politics, games, flea markets, eBay, and the company of his family, friends, and his cat, Stella. He had a keen analytic mind, an encyclopedic knowledge of history, and a quick wit, to the constant delight of those around him. His intellect was matched only by his warmth, compassion and generosity. Possessed of an exceptionally sensitive and gentle nature and unassuming demeanor, Marc was equally at home anywhere, if slightly out of place everywhere, and was admired by all who knew him and loved by many. Of his own painting, Marc wrote: "I do not try to be profound. My only concern is to make pictures that work. I can't worry about critical relevance, or what a viewer might read into a piece. Such are not for me to know. I am a figurative painter who is, nevertheless, more focused on formal issues than narrative content. Narratives are egocentric, and I am an artist of the Id." Marc was predeceased by his younger brother, Scot, and leaves behind his son, Clay, and mother, Joyce, of Burlington; father, William; brother, Steve and family, Karin, Myra, Leo, and Klara; and a world of dear friends and comrades. Marc was a truly unique individual, and his loss is deeply, deeply felt. * longing for heaven i rubbed sand into my hair and leapt at the clouds * A community memorial tribute will be held on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at 5 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington. All those wishing to celebrate Marc's life with art, music, poetry, reminiscences or otherwise are welcome. See marcawodey.org for details.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Oct. 28, 2012
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