Photography + Form Week: Marcie Scudder
Photography is my first love, but at times I feel that it falls flat for me (how ironic) and I seek out other ways that may tell the story more effectively. While researching for my own photo based projects, I often come across the work of others who push the medium far into new corners through the use of textiles, thread and sculptural elements or any combination thereof. Due to the saturation of images, it seems that some artists have been less inclined to use photography as a language but rather as a form to recreate objects such as textiles, 3-dimensions or a combination of both. The artists featured this week are all inspired by imagery or choose to create sculptural elements with in their imagery to create a layered investigation of their worlds. -Maggie Meiners
I met Marcie Scudder while pursuing my MFA at Maine Media College back in 2021. Marcie’s background in architecture became evident as she presented her photo based sculptural work and I had to know more. It became evident to me that her inspiration is derived from the colors, shapes and forms of the Vermont landscapes and scale is a critical component to her work. Beginning with a photographic print, she cuts, folds, sews, and sculpts the imagery into 3-dimensional paper abstractions and the viewer is able to become fully immersed in a unique experience.
Marcie Scudder (b. 1958, Montreal) is a lens-based mixed media artist whose work is inspired by the ever-changing landscape, and how she might alter a viewers’ experience. Using her camera as her image-making tool, and paper as her medium of choice – she creates 3-dimensional large-scale forms that alter one’s proprioception and interaction with the natural environment.
Trained and educated as an Architect, she experiments and plays with how she might shape and inform space. She uses color as a central element, sculpting and layering her paper shapes that ultimately create a sense of disordered order and unbalanced balance in fully immersive experiences. She is continually asking the viewer to look again, to see and feel anew.
Currently in pursuit of her MFA, Marcie’s art has been exhibited in numerous galleries and private collections in the US and Canada.
Follow Marcie Scudder on Instagram: @marciescudder
Tell us about the landscape of your childhood and how you came to be an artist.
By all counts – my childhood was magical. I was born and raised in the very cosmopolitan city of Montreal with strong ties to both family and tradition. Our winter weekends were spent in Vermont, skiing in these beautiful mountains. When I think back on those formative years – the feeling that most stands out in my mind – is one of safety.
My father was in the men’s neckwear business, designing Italian silk ties. I have fond memories of sitting up late at night with him with swatches of every imaginable color of silk, mixing and matching them into warps that would be the next season’s fashion trends. It was there that I felt his trust in my voice, perhaps the most necessary ingredient in encouragement.
He had a passion for both music and photography – both of which became a part of me.
My mother was a fiber artist, making contemporary kimonos and quilts. I grew up surrounded by color and texture and thread.
My grandmother exposed me to all sorts of arts and culture by taking me to museums, concerts and the beautiful ballet.
I remember – as a young child – being handed a coloring book and my mother encouraging me to color outside the lines. That was, perhaps, one of my more formative moments.
What was your first meaningful encounter with art?
I can’t quite recall a singular first encounter. What stands out the most – in my mind – was the ballet. The music. The graceful movement. The lights. The magic. There were museum visits where I remember standing in front of contemporary abstract paintings trying to discern their meaning. And there was Hockney’s ‘Scrabble Game’ which was my first meeting with photography as something other than a single image in a single frame.
How does photography influence/inform this body of work and vice versa?
I begin with my camera. It’s my first tool and paintbrush when image creating. The photographic image is often what informs the process and the end result.
Likewise, my previous life and practice as an Architect taught me how to sculpt and form space and structure. That discipline and education informed how I see, perceive, and photograph my world.
Without any sort of conscious awareness, they have informed one another, allowing me to borrow from one to support the other.
How does photography integrate into your current medium? Or if you are still using photography how does it relate to the other materials that you are using?
Photography is integral to this medium. I do all my printing on paper. The paper I choose to use when I print informs how I might cut, fold and sculpt. Right now – it’s always the image that dictates the process.
What process is used in deciding what material to use when it comes to taking it from straight photography to something of another dimension?
Mostly – it’s just experimentation. Since taking this leap into transforming my two-dimensional photographic work into a more sculptural form, I’ve been working in paper with a recent foray into mylar. I was looking for something that was soft and fluid, something I could mold and sculpt, while at the same time something that I might sew. I played with all sorts of different papers. Some were too soft. Others too brittle. Right now, I’m working with an Epson matte paper. It’s simple but meets all of my current needs.
What were you reading, watching or listening to while making this work? If you don’t remember, can you tell us what pieces of literature, art or film may have helped direct this work?
I listen to a lot of music. Mostly jazz and indie singer/songwriters. And – audiobooks. Lately, my chosen books have been historical fiction.
What are you working on currently and does it relate to photography. If so, how?
Right now – I’m working on my Winter Garden piece. It’s structurally similar to My Mother’s Garden, but in the subtle quiet monochrome of the winter landscape. I’ve also begun a series where I’m photographing paper, incorporating shapes and colors informed by the seasonal landscape and then, re-constructing them into three-dimensional accordion-book-like structures that intersect and bisect forming abstractions. It’s still very much in-process, but I’m excited with the direction I’m going.
Maggie Meiners (b.1972, Chicago) Maggie Meiners is an interdisciplinary artist whose work revolves around self-critique. Heavily influenced by image culture and how it personally affects her, Meiners deftly deploys photography, stock imagery, film stills, cultural artifacts and magazines to tackle subjects such as identity, gender, and social status. Using appropriation, assemblage, film making and installations, Meiners explores the psychological affects of popular imagery on her psyche.
Her interests lie in deconstructing the current cultural narrative as a way of empowerment and defining her personal identity. The internal conflicts that manifest from the constant barrage of the media as well as societal expectations (both self-imposed and external) within the current social construct are also represented in her work. Using these varied modes and mediums, Meiners’ work highlights feminism and contemporary notions of gender, domesticity, beauty, consumption, and body image. Humor and subversive messaging in Meiners’ work is relayed as an abundance of bright, often lurid colors and textures in jarring, frenetic, and imperfectly arranged pieces. Such arrangements evoke the essence of simultaneous desire and absurdity, a psychological manifestation of our culture of perfection and truth.
Maggie’s art has been widely exhibited and remains in the permanent collections of the Illinois Institute of Art, Wheaton College, Harrison Street Lofts, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP and numerous private collections. In addition, her work was on loan at the American Embassy in Uruguay from 2016-2019. Maggie had her first solo exhibition in 2005 at The Union League Club of Chicago– one of the most esteemed private collectors of art in the country and is represented by the Anne Loucks Gallery in Glencoe IL.
Follow Meiners on Instagram: @MaggieMeinersProjects
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