gmhTODAY 08 gmhToday May June 2016 - Page 63

Following a soft opening for last year’s Gilroy Wine Festival, Marquez held a reception and grand opening of the Blue Line Gallery on September 19th. The gallery has since hosted several receptions for exhibits by local artists. The gallery is currently open by appointment only and is available for special exhibits and receptions. After he settles in he hopes to establish posted hours. Marquez was an aspiring artist at his high school in Holtville, California, where he earned a scholarship to art school. Before he could pursue his studies, however, Uncle Sam came calling and he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968. Serving at the height of the Viet Nam conflict, he served a two year combat tour — an experience that has stayed with him to this day. “I still wake up in the night reliving my experiences over there. I think it contributes to the passion in my art and why I sometimes express social injustices in my paintings.” It was one of those memories from the service that inspired the name of his gallery. He related that the rivers on the maps were called “blue lines,” usually a favorable destination for battle-weary soldiers. “I always tried to lead my troops to the rivers, a place to cool off and kick back for a while.” After his discharge from the Army in 1970, he moved to San Jose and enrolled in San José City College as an art major. After receiving his A.A. degree he transferred to San José State University where he received his B.A. degree in Art in 1978. While studying at SJSU he became friends with his professor, Morgan Hill resident Robert “Bob” Friemark – a prodigious and accomplished artist in printmaking, watercolors and tapestries. They spent the next 25 years painting together until Friemark’s passing in 2010 at age 88. Marquez speaks fondly of those years with Friemark and considers him a significant influence on his development as an artist. “I lost my best friend,” recalls Marquez. “I don’t want his memory to fade; I think of him every time I paint. I always want to do work that would make Bob proud.” Anyone wanting to cool off and kick back while viewing an exhibit at the Blue Line Gallery is asked to contact Ralph Marquez at 408.767.9068 for more information. Dan Craig is a local artist whose early works were more of Realism. He now enjoys an Impressionistic style. He lives in Morgan Hill with his life partner, Kim. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2016 63