Marcia Wolfson Ray

Artist Statement

"You can't know the way" is a Taoist saying that sums up my feelings towards my own work. The sense of mystery at the center of life for me is echoed in the forms, rhythms and patterns represented in nature. It is not only the beauty that influences me but the physical manifestation- the geography of place, the season, the temperature, the light. I collect the materials myself and the work I do outdoors is central to what I produce. I find my materials in fields, marshes, by the side of the highway and in vacant city lots. The point where I intersect with these materials serves as a catalyst for my imagination.

After collecting the materials- bamboo, hibiscus, dog fennel, corn, reeds, grasses, and various other plants, they may sit in my studio for years and its during this time I can see what happens to them. Some of the materials petrify and become stronger while others disintegrate, turning to dust. This gives me a hint of what I can build with them. The idea my imagination starts with may not mesh with the physical reality of the material I'm using, so I have to allow for a certain degree of improvisation, that lets the work evolve and dictate its own form. I try to minimally impose myself so that in a way I am collaborating with nature.

This is where I return to the sense of mystery, because all my conscious calculations may come to naught and all I am left with is a process that reveals itself in a most obscure way. There lies the excitement I feel when I'm working. It is my hope that the pieces convey to the viewer an intensity that transcends words.