Marvel Maring is a painter and book artist interested in process painting, abstraction and the spaces of unknowing. She has exhibited nationally and taught internationally. Trained as a painter (MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) she became interested in artist books in the mid 1990's and went on to get her MFA in book arts, studying letterpress printing, papermaking and binding at the University of Alabama. Now she continues to paint and draw as well as combining her painting and drawing in various book formats. She moves freely between works on paper, collage and mixed media and book structures, depending on the visual demand and the narrative storytelling. The works on paper here were completed in 2021.
Unearthed series, 2021
The natural world has always been the wellspring of my work. For me, it serves as the perfect metaphor for the terrain of the psyche. Being from a stoic, Midwestern family, communicating in an overt way was sometimes difficult. My family tended to forge relationships through work and efforts in the natural world. Planting a garden, sitting on the back stoop watching the stars, cleaning out the stalls in the horse barn were activities that allowed me to share in the cycle of nature and the profound cycle of birth, growth, change, death and loss. Working outside and experiencing the natural world connected me to something that I often did not have words for but knew was something profound and eternal. Memories of loss, peace, solitude, possibility and redemption are piqued in a walk through tangled wood or by listening to the grasshoppers in the tall grass prairie. Examining the tensions of my inner and outer world can be expressed most easily through the rhythms and variety of the landscape and weather. The physicality, spontaneity, and immediacy of drawing and painting can reflect the experience of wind blowing through the bluestem at the Konza prairie or the thrust and resistance of a shovel digging garden beds. The jerky, twisted, angry scribbles can express the suffocating and overgrown vines strangling the woods on the river's edge. Lately, my work has gone inward, like an archaeological excavation. Rather than describing a literal force or plant or organism, I am interested in evocating the feeling of experiencing nature rather than realistically portraying it. I want my work to evoke a feeling of something both unique and familiar that resonates something truthful and authentic.