Marvel Maring

Born in: 1962, USA
Lives in: Omaha, USA
Education: BFA in Painting and Drawing with Distinction from the University of Kanas
MFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago MFA in Book Arts from the University of Alabama
Describe your art in three words: Healing, integration, wholeness.
See More Work: Instagram

Granada Suite #8 - Collage 9 x 12 in.

"Four years ago, I was experiencing a period of artist block. Everything felt like a struggle and the resulting pieces were tired and self-conscious. To break through to something that felt alive and joyful, I decided to rethink the previous work and use it in a new way. The collages I've worked on since 2018 have been a deliberate attempt to integrate my binary thinking."

What themes does your work involve?
The act of creating is one that allows me to forge connections and it restores a sense of wholeness. Ironically, the act of destruction became how I rediscovered a sense of wholeness in my latest work. Knowing the remnants of what didn't work in an earlier piece might find a place in another is healing. Each fragment reveals my artistic history like an archaeological dig into my past work. Letting these scraps of ruined works build new pieces is a conscious act of acceptance.
Describe your creative process.
My work embraces "mistakes" and challenges my binary thinking of what is good or bad, success or failure. Building a collage of remnants of "failed" works has been both healing and liberating. Reusing old works to create new ones helps me see that there are no failures. Remembering this provides room for risk-taking. I can manipulate the surface, moving pieces around the page until a whisper of an idea emerges. Like improvisation in jazz, these pieces have a spontaneous and lyrical quality.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The core of my practice is a commitment to the process. I love when the thinking mind is quiet, and the intuitive mind takes over. I love facing a new piece--watching closely to see what develops. I love making visual decisions with color, shape, movement, and line. Artists Joan Mitchell, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Helen Frankenthaler, are very inspirational. Taking the raw elements of paint, mark, and surface and creating something that resonates emotionally is nothing short of magical.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
I want to stay grounded in my studio practice and be confident to take more risks. I want to explore working larger and incorporating more drawing elements. I also want to exhibit more (and normalize rejection).
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
My work is so anti-technology that AI has not affected my practice. My work is grounded in traditional practices celebrating unique discoveries and happy accidents and AI can't replicate that.
What is the role of the artist today?
Art-making can be an act of courage during destabilizing times, as well as a way to process loss, grief, anger, frustration, and confusion. Now more than ever, I have relied on my studio practice to provide a sanctuary and antidote--a literal and liminal space of possibility and peace. Being in the studio is the one place where I can find a reprieve from the foreboding 24-hour news cycle and find a sense of equilibrium during this volatile time. Ultimately, it is an act of faith in humanity.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
I believe a work of art is great when there is not one ounce of self-consciousness left. It's when something surprising happens that you could never have really imagined. Philip Guston said it best in his "Studio Ghosts" quote. He said, "When you're in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you - your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics... and one by one if you're really painting, they walk out. And if you're really painting YOU walk out."
Granada Suite #7 - Collage 9 x 12 in.
Granada Suite #5 - Collage 9 x 12 in.
Granada Suite #3 - Collage 9 x 12 in.
Granada Suite #1 - Collage 9 x 12 in.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

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