Now Featuring Marina Grize
Marina Grize exploits the slippery nature of language. Placing text in transitional contexts—glimpsed as a light projections, an unfixed cyanotype—the words are unexpected. Untethered from the page, Grize’s text takes on meanings that range from longing to menace and back again.
MH: Can you talk about the photographs you’ve made for your LPP series? How did the installations come about? Were they built for the purpose of being photographed or is the photograph just another iteration of the project?
MG: The images for LPP are actually being documented by a photographer, Carlos Galvan. We are having so much fun that we plan on collaborating after this, but for now the art direction, location, set up, lighting, and etc. are all me—I needed someone else there in order to document as I am controlling the projections, he also has an amazing eye for color and will be correcting the images for me as soon as I’m done editing.
A large portion of the work I create is ephemeral, whether it’s in a gallery or in the streets. Documenting projections seemed like the best way to encompass different elements of my practice. These projections were built specifically for this project—they are a few lines or a phrase taken from longer poems. The most recent is “DREAM LOVER” projected onto a pink church, which is taken from a poem. The full text is a story, and one phrase in a visual setting, a home, is a retelling of that story.
MH: How did you start taking photographs? And what’s the rest of your practice like?
MG: I graduated from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Printmaking and Art History, Printmaking was the best option for me to incorporate all the mediums I work in (design, photography, sculpture, painting). Photographic elements and processes have always been part of my work but I do not consider myself a photographer, although it was the first medium I fell in love with. I’m also interested in multiples, and non-precious objects—objects that are easy to access and easy to share.
There is a level of anonymity with the work I do—public prints, zines, light sculptures/signs. I’m just starting to receive public commissions, so it’s a recent thing for me to be recognized as an artist, or rather that my name is connected to the work. I’ve worked in the arts in the tri-state area for over a decade, primarily in design and marketing. I’ve spent the last two years working in Southern California. One infers the other in many ways even though it can be a complicated relationship—I’m creating the museum advertisement at the bus stop, I’m creating the poems I’m pasting over advertisements at bus stops, and etc. Having said that, design and digital marketing, to me, are just another system of communication.
MH: I love the example you give of the bus stop ad—creating it one role, obscuring it in another. Can you talk more about how you manage these two parts of your life?
MG: It’s a complicated role, and initially I felt a sort of duplicity. I would question myself if it was somehow dishonest to make this work. In the end it is different systems of communication and for different reasons. I think I’d feel more torn about it now if I wasn’t advertising art, if I was selling deodorant or something like that. In other ways it’s given me an understanding of how much the private as political or in the public sphere is important. We see something like 5,000 ads a day in a city, it’s refreshing to stop and read—even if it’s a mysterious surreal poem, or a three word gesture.
MH: Can you talk about anonymity as a strategy in your work? Has it been a choice, for the most part? Does it allow you to do or say things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to, or reach viewers in a different way, or allow you to untether yourself from some part of your identity?
MG: The anonymity, for the most part, has been cultivated. I’ll start with the least interesting facet of this: I am simply a private person. As much as I enjoy using materials that are easy to give away or to access, I rarely share on my personal social media accounts or anything of that nature. I have no reservations about what I’m saying or how I’m saying it, and I generally will sign the back of my prints, but overall I don’t have the need to plaster my name on everything and use that as a signifier. I repeat the language from project to project, and use only one font for that purpose. Some works are completely confessional; it is my identity.
MH: How do you develop the text you work with?
MG: I’m constantly writing notes, whether it’s in my journal or on scrap paper or on my phone. It can be anything.. passing thoughts, text messages, overheard conversations, found notes, song lyrics, internal dialogue. Sometimes I’m heart broken, sometimes I’m overjoyed by the simplest things— drunk in the back of an Uber and the moon looks so damn beautiful I have to write about it. Writing the things we think and do not say, the visceral human experience.
MH: Who are are some of the artists whose work is exciting you these days?
MG: I work at the only contemporary art space in Balboa Park, I’m always around art and artists. Locally, I recently worked with Julian Klincewicz, and most people—including myself—are excited by his work! A standard, and someone I always go back to/follow on social media/look up shows when I’m traveling is Tauba Auerbach. Other artists in the same vein. Michael Staniak, Mary Weatherford. As for printmaking—some of my college mentors are still exciting to me—Breanne Trammel, Cassandra Hooper, and Stella Ebner specifically. I like the print-media world, all the work I see at Printed Matter’s LA or NY art book fair. There are a lot of queer ties in that community which is also important to me, and is an element of my own work.