marion held
fine art

Artist's Statement
I work with disparate materials, natural and man made, cast, molded, printed, sewn, drawn, found and repurposed. I am interested in creating a singular story or narrative, something new, by the juxtaposition of the unrelated objects I have assembled. For example, in the work Pale Memory, a length of fabric, adorned with images, is pushed through an antique clothes wringer. The transient past, the unreliability of memory and the passage of time come to mind. The piece asks the viewer to fill in the blanks of the story as they see it for themselves. In the work, 2020 Tearing My Hair Out, ceramic hands, horse hair and a vintage grater come together to illustrate my state of mind during the pandemic. The piece is wry, funny, and expresses the difficulty and anxiety of dealing with pandemic life.
The human condition—representational, abstracted, and suggested— has fascinated me throughout my career. I began working with masks for a show at Medialia Gallery in New York City on the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. After the exhibit I continued the work of mask making, using the human face as an expressive vehicle for depicting emotions, as a mask or in a sculpture.

I am also interested in representing the body as metaphor. The Dress Project consists of a group of works that are ephemeral and hang freely in the air. Anatomical images are drawn on sheer fabrics that move with air currents, catching light in unexpected ways. The dresses are hand sewn and embellished on a translucent material. The work alludes to the enduring body, while also expressing the delicacy and fragility of the human condition.

In both sculpture and drawing I examine a wide range of human feelings, failings, and whimsy, from the passionate to the nuanced and mysterious, from past histories and into the future. What keeps me wholly engaged is my curiosity, playfulness, and the desire to see something surprising, strange and powerful emerge in the next work.