Exhibitions > Michelle Marcuse

Mountain Logic
Mountain Logic
wire, raffia, string, acrylic paint
52 x 15.5 x 9 in.

As a product of my upbringing in racially segregated white South Africa, my work is significantly influenced by the vibrant cultural aesthetics that surrounded me during my formative years. While acknowledging the privilege associated with my personal heritage, my current work, a series I have titled Binding Ties, aims to shine a light on the often-overlooked complexities and nuances that mainstream narratives fail to capture, giving voice to lesser-told stories and experiences.

Through an exploration of the intricate relationship between identity, history, and the shared human experience amidst an ever-changing cultural fusion, I aim to blend traditional craft techniques experienced in my youth with modern aesthetics, prompted by my questions around fixed identity and shifting narratives in today's society.

To this end, I have embraced the interplay between my South African roots and the evolution of an authentic blend of cultures after emigrating to the USA. This merging of aesthetics enables me to experiment with a variety of techniques and concepts to unlock my potential. My focus lies not only in crafting my materials but also refining the creative process through exploration while seeking innovative ways to connect substance with methodology.

Using mixed media, such as wire, raffia, thread, and cardboard, my projects are approached through a build-up and break-down of materials. The resulting chaos has a paradoxical fertility from which I generate forms. I like the makeshift quality that results from this dissolution, keeping my work in various states of becoming, never finite, mutable, like water and air. When necessary, I use an assortment of mediums such as gouache, acrylic paint, graphite, chalks and glitter. By using a limited palette, I create a more cohesive composition. I see my work as drawings in 3 dimensions. The interplay between line and negative space that arises has a rhythm and tension that adds complexity to my forms.

It is important for me to maintain authenticity in my art. Growing up in South Africa, the multi-cultural essence of this country with its various ethnicities, languages and customs, instilled a deep appreciation for the intricacy of human creativity. These formative years have had a huge impact on the way I process and express myself. I hope my work conveys the raw and untamed essence of South Africa and encapsulates the moments that are both emblematic of this nation and personal to me.