Visual Arts

Fragments Reorganized

Untitled, mixed media, 9 x 12, 2021

The recent solo exhibit of paintings and drawings by Danièle M. Marin at Noho M55 Gallery, Chelsea, titled “Simultaneous Views” was a multimedia showcase of twenty new abstract-expressionist pieces, revealing vicissitudes and epiphanies of life through the language of form. The show provided viewers an opportunity to awaken emotions, long chilled by winter, but now invigorated as strong recollections tempered by judicious plastic manipulations.

Marin was born in Paris, France where she started to study art at the Louvre School. She continued her studies at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University after she moved to the USA. Her bi-cultural education and experiences are easily felt in her historically grounded technique that is overlaid with a pioneering spirit.

Within her numerous solo shows, Marin has included still life, installation and figurative works. The unifying element in each of her approaches is her unique commitment to her compositions, in which forms congregate and disperse. Her strength is in how she brings incongruent forms and objects together in a single statement of solidarity. By not following the conventional rules of perspective and color relationships, she creates compositions which are asymmetrical yet unified. She does not rearrange the world into a balanced and symmetrical image but shows us that odd relationships and unexpected images and forms can have a natural order in the multitude of visual and internal stimuli.

Untitled, mixed media, 8×10, 2021 

In this exhibition, Marin has created painted collages as reorganizations of the past, recalled through concept and form visualized “in both steady and changing states.” She created these pieces during the long days of the pandemic, revealing a broad range of feelings since her previous show, also mounted during the contagion. Here, the pieces provide a greater sense of emotional wholeness with more languorous brushwork, akin to some of Helen Frankenthaler’s pieces. Marin’s previous paintings demonstrated more agitation as they were produced during the time of her late husband’s illness. These collages are more tranquil but still have pictorial tensions due to linear gestures showing Marin’s love for Willem de Kooning.

If her abstract works could speak, they might tell a story of bringing stability to the turning tides

Marin enthuses about the impasto method. Her Tintoretto, celebrates not only Tintoretto’s use of technique, but also acknowledges Rembrandt as a hero and the impasto’s inventor. The artist also references Perle Fine, another artistic protagonist, who also worked fluidly with paint and collage on canvas. Marin juxtaposes stillness and motion on these new canvases, creating collages with fragmented edges, so that when the works are viewed, combinations of movement and stasis become evident, underscoring the exhibit’s fitting name.

The piece, 9×12 Untitled, intimates for me doves sailing toward a diaphanous heart rising up to meet the birds in flight. The brushed colors are scumbled washes wherein the yellow pigment climbs toward optimistic heights. Her pastel work is airy with painted energy as she heals from the loss of her husband.

Untitled, mixed media, 28×22 2021

Marin’s collaged fragments appear to be efforts to reorganize the past through involuntary memory. Her current works break free into the vivid expressive present, and without any anthropomorphic vestiges are entirely non-objective dramatic inventions tempered by subtle uses of white. Like her earlier works, they show a synthesis of stasis and non-stasis. If her abstract works could speak, they might tell a story of bringing stability to the turning tides.

I sense in her current foray, Danièle M. Marin is working through emotional trauma and the light touches are glimpses of appreciation. These pieces are like Proust’s “madeleine moments,” fragmentary recollections visually reinterpreted for today. No longer narratives, they are now abstract renditions of the artist’s grateful signs of life. G&S

Simultaneous views 

Memories join occurrences that hadn’t previously met,

They change the perceptions of the current time

Becoming closer to witnessing life passing.

The collage fragments added to my acrylic paintings are

Collected from past moments, they are themselves in

Motion on the canvas surface.

Initially separated in time and space, they have the

Connecting function of bringing the collage pieces and

The painted edges together. The fragments reorganize

The past with the present time, they are evidence and

Recollection, concept, and form.

My work is a meditation on the nature of memory, both

A steady-state and a changing state.

Danièle M. Marin

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