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Marcia Wolfson Ray

Artist Statement

"The map is not the territory"-Alfred Korzbyski

This quote reveals the physical motivation behind my involvement in creating sculpture. The source of my ideas come from nature and nature also provides the materials for the pieces themselves.

Willow, dog fennel, phragmites, hibiscus, pine bark, bamboo and marsh elder are examples of plants I have used to construct the sculptures. Most of these materials I collect myself.

This collecting is done after the growing season is over, mainly in autumn, winter and early spring. The wood I am using for my most recent work was collected from the marshes in Dorchester County on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

In the winter the marshes are burned to promote new growth in the spring. This wood is partially charred black by the fire and bleached from the sun. The patterns that this process creates act as a catalyst for ideas for the work.

The geography of the places where I gather, the light, temperature and season all contribute in their own way toward the final form and appearance of the work.

Many of the pieces were constructed outdoors.

The environment is my silent collaborator. The wind, sun, rain, and snow all manifest their influence on the work.

My materials are simple, and I do treat the surfaces to seal them so that while the works may appear delicate or fragile they have a strength and durability that withstands years of moving from place to place in the process of exhibiting the work.

My process has evolved over time. I drill holes randomly in the pine wood and use the willow as dowels to build a scaffolding structure which contributes another visual element into the mix.

It is this unknowable aspect that draws me to the process of making sculpture. With each work I create, I take a journey in a very physical sense with a destination that reveals itself step by step. This process, which begins when I am out in the landscape gathering, allows me an intimacy with the natural world which helps me feel connected to the very thing that makes my existence possible. My art is essentially about a process of transformation and an evolution of materials.