Marissa Girard, a native of Goffstown, NH, is a senior pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting degree from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester. Here, her professors have encouraged her to explore work further than the traditional landscape. While at NHIA, she has been introduced to the work of numerous philosophers, including Martin Heidegger and Immanuel Kant. These writings challenged her to work deeper, exploring the realm of what beauty is and why its existence holds meaning.
While searching for alternatives to pure oil paint, Marissa began experimenting with mixing paint with cold wax medium. The unpredictability and depth of this technique was one that gave Marissa the ability to achieve the surface texture that she had always strived for. Working this way allowed Marissa to layer sheets of color and create deep rifts in the surface of the paint. The combination of raw beeswax and oil paint takes well to the concepts of beauty and nature she conveys in her work. Marissa continues to explore the effects of human existence in landscape, particularly through combining nature’s organic beauty with the graphic, hard-edged qualities of infrastructure.
I strive within my work to emphasize nature's superiority in our human lives. Across the world, humans have always built structures to shield them from the environment over which we have no control. Even outdoors, I am surrounded by these “shields” – power lines, telephone wires, street signs, bridges. The infrastructure of the society I live in continuously envelops me. It serves as a reminder that I am “here” and nature is “there”. I look up, and always see the literal geometric boundary lines across an organic, wild landscape.
I use natural materials to capture these moments. I mix my paints with cold wax – odorless mineral spirits mixed with solid beeswax - to lose control. I build, sculpt, and wipe away the paint. I work quickly, constantly in motion to keep up with the changing qualities of nature. I use a palette knife, sometimes an overly large brush. Small brushes aren't fast enough. I allow my painted skies to swallow up the thin, delicate wires of the power lines. Structural members of bridges are dwarfed by the colors around them.
Here, in my painted world, the skies triumph over humanity every day, every moment, every image. My paintings remind me that it is not humanity that rules this earth - it is a force far greater.