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Portuguese Man of War by artist Henry Hong. Photo: Rachel Gray.

In The Making Collaborating Artist Interview: Marisa Gallemit

By Apartment613 on May 14, 2019



Text by Joanna Tymkiw, visuals by Rachel Gray. In the Making is an interdisciplinary exhibition featuring the work of ten BEING Studio artists. The exhibition is the culmination of a workshop series presented by five local artists sharing skills in printmaking, sculpture, photography, storytelling and ceramics. Joanna is a member of BEING Studio’s Board of Directors and Rachel is the artistic coordinator at the studio.

Click here to learn more about BEING Studio’s In The Making workshop series.

Marisa Gallemit’s work will knock the air right out of you. Her fascinating practice includes sculpture and assemblage out of repurposed objects. From huge and heavily layered bunches of rubber feathers to public and interactive installations, you’ve never seen anything like it before. Despite her being one of the most creative people you might ever meet, she’s also inviting and approachable – not to mention humble. In her own words, “I screw and I glue. That’s it.”

Suzan Ozkul, Hair Lights, bicycle inner tubes, parachord, dimensions variable, 2019 (2)

For Marisa, making sculptures came out of nowhere. One night at her dining room table, when her child was sleeping, Marisa gathered tires and other discarded goods from her bike shop and challenged herself to make something out of it. “Doing this took care of that part of me. It was unobtrusive to the rest of my life and there was no expense to it. It was this piece of privacy that just ended up saving me.”

For Marisa, BEING Studio is the closest thing to perfect environment for artists regardless of age, gender or capacity. “I really think that the studio is fostering exactly what it was I needed back then. When I walked into that space for the first time and saw everyone working with their materials, at their craft, alongside each other – I just felt in awe.”

Marisa drew inspiration for her sculptural workshop from American fiber sculptor Judith Scott. During her artistic career, Judith created bright, diverse sculptures by intensely wrapping objects with coloured yarn. Speaking about Judith’s work, Marisa says “She just committed to this intensive wrapping process. Her life really changed when she started doing this – it was her jumping off point.”

A lot of what drives Marisa’s taps into her own resourcefulness, so the artists with a variety of repurposed materials, but says “Really, I was just there to make suggestions. These artists already have robust practices and are working constantly. They’re so dedicated to their practice and what that entails.”

These artists already have robust practices and are working constantly. They’re so dedicated to their practice and what that entails.—Collaborating Artist Marisa Gallemit

The result? “Unbelievable. There’s such a range too because the materials differ. Henry made a piece that was exactly what I had envisioned. He was so focused on it and it is so tightly wound. It’s just stunning.”

The sculptures curator Rose Ekins chose from this workshop range from more literal to abstract, both big and small, some inviting and others more demanding.

“Henry’s is a super intricate mixture of texture and pattern and material. It’s quite inviting because when things become tighter in terms of space, our brain wants to make sense of it – so I found myself just moving closer and closer.”

Rose explains that this is the opposite to Suzan’s piece, which is very large, and commands attention in a different way. “It really demands space because of its length. During the exhibit, it will be hung from the ceiling and spill onto the floor. It’ll be stunning.”

The impression Marisa is left with of BEING Studio is the real confidence and gestural quality to the work that is made by the artists. “There’s not a lot of second guessing. I was awestruck by it, it’s just pure expression.”

In The Making’s opening reception is Thursday May 16 from 5:30-8:30pm at the Galerie Annexe, Ottawa Art Gallery. The exhibition runs May 16-26. Ottawa Art Gallery’s drop-off/pick-up address is 10 Daly Avenue. The Daly entrance is between Waller and Nicholas on the south side. The Ottawa Art Gallery is a wheelchair accessible venue.