Mark Pomilio

Written by Dolores Tropiano Category: Arts Issue: November 2013
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Mark Pomilio wanted to “grow a painting,” a concept he says was inspired by some scary thoughts about single-cell manipulation, cloning, genetic modification and math. Not typical artistic muses, but Pomilio’s work is hardly typical.

The award-winning artist ( creates quirky symmetrical images (ranging from 10 inches high to 10 feet tall) using both the messiest, most archaic media (charcoal and paper) and the most modern (digital design). The forms are often folded and multiplied throughout his art, sort of like abstract origami. “I was learning about numbers and how numbers explain how things grow. That’s when I decided I wanted to grow a painting,” says Pomilio, an associate professor of art at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. “The great masters used mathematics to compose their work and I tried to figure out what compelled them and it was geometry. So I started to study geometry.”

Pomilio’s work has been shown globally – at the Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpêtrière in Paris, France, and the Renmin University of China in Beijing – and locally, at Bentley Gallery, 215 E. Grant St. in Phoenix.

“The imagery is about the process of growth,” Pomilio says. “My goal is to make each piece feel like a unique entity – almost as if it is breathing on the wall or has a life of its own.”