Through parallel practices of art and architecture, productive cross-pollination shapes the work of artist Marianne Desmarais. Techniques from architectural practice are applied in drawings and sculptures that attempt to alter space through the manipulation of form, optics, and surface. Utilizing manual and digital modes of production, resistance and collapse are explored as themes of structural response. Marianne works with geometry and material characteristics to visually amplify the relationships between constructive parts, media, and disciplines. Her works move off the surface of the gallery walls to approach the viewer physically, to push and pull space.
Current works are composite textiles made of linen and wood—where one material is rigid, the other is soft. In combination, these qualities result in emergent forms and fluid composition. Desmarais continually pairs these contrasts to express the stillness present when tension is produced by gravity and resisted or encouraged by inscribed hinge points. The works reveal that balance is a state between equal and opposing forces.
Marianne Desmarais lives and works in New Orleans. She holds Masters of Architecture degrees from Tulane University and Cranbrook Academy of Art and has studied abroad at the Edinburgh College of Art. In addition to studio practice, Desmarais maintains an architectural practice and is a Professor of Practice at the Tulane School of Architecture.
Desmarais's work has been featured in Ceramics Monthly, and collaborative work has appeared in Azure and FiberArts magazines. Collaborative work made with artist Liz Sargent during the Banff Centre New Works Residency is part of SCAD's permanent collection in Shanghai. With artist Sarah Kabot, Desmarais installed a large-scale public artwork on the facade of the Westin Downtown, Cleveland, OH. Recent shows include Transpositions, a solo show at Staple Goods Gallery, as well as group shows at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Antenna Gallery, and the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans. In 2016, the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in New Orleans commissioned Glyphic Figure, a limited edition sculpture created exclusively for its upper-level Silver Circle members.
Support for this exhibition is provided by Sydney & Walda Besthoff, The Helis Foundation and the Visual Arts Exhibition Fund. This program is supported in part by a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans as administered by the Arts Council New Orleans and by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Arts Council New Orleans. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.