Mark Soppeland is MC's 2013 artist-in-residence

March 12, 2013
Contact: Mary Moates, Communications Assistant
865.981.8209; communications@maryvillecollege.edu

Mark Soppeland is this year’s artist-in-residence at Maryville College. While on campus March 25-29, he will teach workshops, participate in individual critiques with students and give a presentation about his work.

A collection of his recent work, titled “The House of the Mystery Cult,” will be on display in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Blackberry Farm Gallery through March 29. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

A reception will be held on Mon., March 25 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Soppeland will give a presentation about his work in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall at 7 p.m.

“We invited Mark Soppeland because he is a terrific artist and a fantastic teacher,” said Dr. Carl Gombert, professor of art at Maryville College. “He works in a wide variety of media, and has an incredibly fluid and fertile mind.”

In addition to painting, sculpting and designing, Soppeland is a professor at the University of Akron, where he is finishing his 37th year of teaching at the Myers School of Art. His work has been shown in over 400 exhibitions, and he has been awarded five Ohio Arts Council Fellowships. Soppeland has created over 50 public art projects, including works for Prague Center for Contemporary Art and the Klenova Institute in the Czech Republic, The Bravo Networks, Suma Health Systems and many other locations. Soppeland’s work can be seen locally at Harris Stanton Gallery in Akron, Ohio.

While at the College, Gombert said that Soppeland will teach students a variety of artistic methods during workshops, such as “reverse collage” and his usage of found objects, which can be seen in his latest exhibit.

“He will teach students the basics of found object assemblage, which is the basis of his amazing light sculptures,” Gombert said. “We aim to introduce our students to a wide array of different approaches to art making, and our artist-in-residence program is an important means for introducing students to these other points of view.”

Soppeland’s artist’s statement said that a variety of historical and modernist approaches, with their commentary on the use of light and existing objects, are referenced within his work.

“The found object brings multiple levels of symbolic and cultural baggage to a meeting with efficiency and historical process,” Soppeland said. “The use of light is as elemental as the use of fire. It expands beyond its surface.”

Within his collection “The House of the Mystery Cult,” Soppeland said that he performed the roles of conceptualist, designer, historian, philosopher, storyteller and magician.

“My work reflects what I believe to be an elemental human need for the activities involved with the search, possession and transformation of the object,” Soppeland said. “I am particularly interested in moments when a collection of materials, ideas and energy converge to create reassuring events of improbable coincidence.”


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.