Meredith Marsone talks Abstracted Love exhibition

Written by Jessica Lunan

Meredith Marsone is a contemporary artist hailing for Auckland whose work explores emotive and complex relationships. We caught up with the artist to talk inspirations and her first ever Australian exhibition, titled ABSTRACTED LOVE.

Woman with pastel blue hair

Congratulations on the launch of your latest exhibition, ABSTRACTED LOVE! What were your inspirations behind the breathtaking exhibition?

MM: Thank you! The inspiration for this body of work comes largely from my own intimate relationship, and the experiences we've gone through to create a strong and loving bond. I wanted to create work that captured the myriad of moments that add up to the complexity of what it is to love another person. Some of those are deeply painful and challenging, others are the moments that make it all worth it.

Your artworks centre on depicting the intimate moments in human relationships. What intrigues you to document such moments?

MM: It's important for me to try to communicate the normality of relationship struggles. The storybook romance ideal has left us with notions about relationships that aren't real, and worse, aren't achievable no matter how much we want it. Because the very nature of what it is to be in a relationship is to see yourself clearly, and to see the parts that need healing, re-shaping, challenging and maturing.

When did you decide to pursue a career in art?

MM: I’m not sure there was ever a decision really. I just always wanted to be an artist. I went to art school but graduated feeling really despondent. I wanted to paint people, and art school taught me I wasn't relevant. It took me many years to trust my calling and start painting again. But I've slowly built up my skills and knowledge of oil paint and created what is now just a way of life for me. I paint almost every day.

Your artworks have been exhibited all across the world. Is there a particular location or gallery that you’d love to see your work featured?

MM: This might sound a bit strange but I'd love to show in Auckland, in my own country! And also in Australia some more. Oh and Italy- I want an excuse to live there for a while!

Your portraits feature a lot of icy tones. Is there a particular meaning behind this?

MM: I choose my palette based on the emotive quality I'm trying to set up as well as considering the overall colour balance in the painting. Since skin tones are generally warmer/yellow/brown hues I use cooler tones in the abstract paintwork for balance.

Artwork woman looking up at man with no face

What is your process for working on a new collection?

MM: New work usually is just a flow on from previous work so there's no real start or stop for me. My ideas grow, mature and go in different directions as the body of work develops. There's a large element of trust in this kind of process. It's an organic and intuitive way of working. There's no way of knowing what will end up in the collection until it's actually created- one piece at a time. The only thing I have in my mind before working is something Lucian Freud said, “Paint every painting as if it's your last and best piece”. Or something to that effect!

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Do you have a favourite piece from ABSTRACTED LOVE?

MM: I have favourite elements from each piece but not a favourite per se.

You work mostly with oil paints. Why do you love using this medium?

MM: It's a deliciously difficult medium to master, and seems to have an unending scope for its application. I just love learning more about how to push it around and get the effect I'm after!

If you could describe ABSTRACTED LOVE in three words, what would they be?

MM: Love, Loss, Union

What is your advice for any striving artist trying to break out in the art world?

MM: Do the very best work you can, keep striving to get better at what you do, and find your voice; the thing that no one else can do quite like you can. Don't be disappointed if this takes a while. It took me over 10 years. Just make it a quiet aim in the background of what you're doing. When it happens, it won't feel like a struggle. And put your work out there. Develop a good understanding of social media and use it to share your work. You will get noticed if you're a diligent and committed artist, making good work. Show your process, expose the parts of your practice that make you feel vulnerable. And lastly, do what you do as often as you can, every day if possible. You will improve and discover your magic faster than you can imagine.

What’s next?

MM: Painting and more painting! There are lots of group shows coming up and commissions too. I'd like to book in a solo for 2017 so watch this space.

The ABSTRACTED LOVE exhibition will be officially opening at the Friends Of Leon gallery on the 26th of May, and will be showing until the 11th of June. To keep up to date with everything Meredith Marsone, be sure to follow her Facebook and Instagram.