Artist of the Week

Marianne Spurr

September 24, 2012

Marianne Spurr lives and works in London.  She received her BA from the Ruskin School of Art at Oxford University and her MA from the Royal College of Art in London. Marianne’s work has been exhibited in London and New York.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.  I am an artist working in London. My practice is a fluid, process-led enquiry exploring the limits of painting, materiality, and the activity of making.  I take a lot of photographs – moments found in the everyday – these help to inform my practice in some way or another. It is to do with observing the way things are in the world and the behaviour traces of materials. I took a photo yesterday of a delicious waffle grid imprint in a splotch on the street, which has got me really excited now about ways to translate it into an object. I guess my studio practice is largely about creating a framework in which chance events occur… that’s usually how the best work is generated.

How did your interest in art begin? Probably watching Tony Hart on TV as a kid – that man was a genius. His show Artbeat had a slot called ‘the gallery’ where they would feature selected art submissions each week. I remember sending off my drawings as an eight year old and dreaming of being picked. Sadly, I never was… but at least it got me producing.

 What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? I use quite ordinary, basic materials like fabric, paper, plastic, string, tape, paint, and remnants and detritus from the studio. I employ found or discarded objects that speak of their former life, often in an interior or domestic realm. It’s important that the materials are easy to handle and manipulate by hand, which is why the scale is often quite modest. I am interested in the idea of expiration, modifying objects that have ceased to be ‘useful’ and transforming familiar materials into something new and unrecognisable.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on?  Recently I have been making a new series of works entitled workstations, which are loose assemblies of made objects and found materials arranged on protective plastic sheeting, lino and vinyl mats. Since graduating this summer I have been working out of temporary empty office spaces, and the ground sheets are just a pragmatic device to protect the grey 1980s carpets. I like the way this provides a readymade framework for a certain activity of production – they start to function like nomadic studios or islands that bear all of the traces, decisions and movements of that particular process and time. My work is a lot to do with movement, choreography and improvisation. The workstations are quite painterly, which I like – I am already thinking about ways to flip and turn them into vertical wall pieces.

Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? Such an amazing resource…. I can get lost here for days.  Interior design websites like closet visit: – I seem to spend / waste? an inordinate amount of time ogling other people’s beautiful homes. – this keeps me up to speed with International art goings on.

What artists are you interested in right now? Ahh, so many! But to name a few: B wurtz, Bill Jenkins, Dianna Molzan, Daniel Sinsel and Nina Beier. They all really push their practices in new and unexpected directions, which is so exciting.

What do you do when you’re not working on art? I love cooking, seeing my friends… and riding my bike around the city, although it’s been broken for months and I haven’t got round to fixing it yet. I’ve noticed when you don’t cycle how quickly you become disconnected from the ebb and flow of the city. I’ve also been completely hooked on Breaking Bad this summer.

What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you?I enjoyed the Whitney Biennial this year… it was kind of weird and jarring, which felt good and different somehow. I thought Sam Lewitt’s installation was really brilliant.

Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I’m working towards two upcoming shows at the moment, one at a space called Cul de Sac  and the other at Carl Freedman Gallery in London.

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? The sense that a conversation has just begun…