Marvel Maring

Born in: USA, 1962
Lives in: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Media: Mixed media
Describe your art in three words: 1. Acceptance 2. Healing 3. Integration
See More Work:

Bardo #10 - Mixed media collage, 9.5" x 22"

"These collages demand that I trust the process–a very tangible act of embracing my so-called “mistakes” and transforming them into something fresh. Philip Guston said, “What joy it is for paint to become a thing--a being. Believe in this miracle-it is your only hope.” I believe in this miracle."

Bardo #21 - Mixed media collage, 22" x 30"
Bardo #20 - Mixed media collage, 22" x 30"
Bardo #19 - Mixed media collage, 22" x 30"
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 the means by which 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. Like an archaeological dig into my past work, each fragment reveals my artistic history. Letting these scraps of ruined works build new pieces is a conscious act of acceptance.
Describe your creative process.
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. My work embraces “mistakes” and challenges my binary thinking of what is good or bad, success or failure
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The core of my practice is a commitment to 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 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."
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.


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

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