Nicki Marx, Elan Series #22, Argus pheasant and macaw feathers on wood with sand and acrylic paint/2017
“More Beautiful and Amazing” Seton Gallery exhibition 2019-2020
I have visited scores of art studios during my decades as an art curator. These wonderful places of creativity have always fascinated me. None more so than the one where Nicki Marx works. To visualize it, imagine the back rooms of a natural history museum where the collections are stored, and preparation of specimens takes place. Feathers (legal), rocks, minerals, wood and a multitude of found objects (natural or otherwise) line shelves, hang from walls and find available places on the floors. These find their way into sculptures and wall-hung framed compositions. The color and texture of combined feather works create abstractions, non story-telling work that dazzles the eye with nature’s glory.
Nicki Marx and the Beauty of Nature
My work is a personal celebration of life and an exploration of natural materials. The process of working is for me a ritual, a dance, a prayer of thanksgiving, and a plea for survival. I believe that our culture is sorely lacking in meaningful ritual and celebration and is lacking a deep, respectful awareness of nature. My work has always dealt with paradox through the merging of dark and light to create unity and through dealing with death, life’s counterpart. The work is connected to ancient traditions yet is related to modern forms and ideas. I am acutely aware of the materials with which I work: of how they invoke the peaceful, the intimate and the delicate, yet also the violent, grand and awesome beauty found in nature. These materials allow me to celebrate the earth’s mystery, vitality and power.
Ernest Thompson Seton Counts Bird Feathers
On Oct. 30, 1882, I made a careful count of the feathers on a Brewer’s grackle. They were as follows:
Back of neck 285
Front of neck 300
All below 1000
Each thigh 100 200
Each wing 280 560
Flight feathers 44
(Trail of an Artist-Naturalist, pg. 197, 1940)
(Elan Series #22, copyright Nicki Marx, used by permission)