By Angela Romeo
Hard Edge is a term coined by the art critic Jules Langster to describe work that is characterized by simplified, geometric forms drawn with precise contours and broad strokes of monochromatic color. A path of sharp crisp lines is rarely the path to becoming an artist. Case in point – artist Marcy Gregory.
With a background in art history, urban planning and nutrition this New Jersey transplant has wound her way to a unique niche in the art world. Working from her Palm Desert studio Marcy uses scrap wood and recycled cardboard to create multi-dimensional work. She is also a “realist portraitist” as Marcy calls her style. But the road to this work began with a passion for art, chance meeting and an imagination that saw beauty where others some waste.
“It is hard for me to define what inspired me to be an artist,” said Marcy. “I always took art classes. My degree from Boston University is in Art History. But I did not see myself as an artist. It was a class at the Palm Spring Art Museum taught by Florence Treatman that started the transition. Florence was influenced by Louise Nevelson and her use of wood. Florence in turn inspired me.”
Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? cited Nevelson as a major influence on the new generation of feminist artists. Nevelson also influenced installation art of the late 1960s and 1970s. To Nevelson each element of the installation, no matter how humble the material, was an integral part of the holistic installation and was just as important as an individual object. For Nevelson the wood that she gathered on the New York City streets, at first to burn to keep her and her son, sculptor Mike Nevelson warm, became the medium that would spark Nevelson’s creativity and fame.
“My family and I used to go to Idyllwild to the Family Art Camp. There I was gifted a refrigerator box of wood, odds and ends. Like Nevelson, these scraps became my narrative. My work evolves and is inspired by the shape of the wood. As the refrigerator box nears empty, I find my work becoming more deliberate. The origins of my work start within that box. However crude or unrefined the wood maybe, it is the basis for the art I create.”
Marcy’s sculpture work varies from what she refers to as “more intimate association with the sculpture” size to 4 foot by 5 foot wall pieces. The works, often incorporating word, cardboard and Styrofoam, transform these commonplace throwaways into complex studies. “I enjoy watching people engage with my work. I know each piece intimately. I create it. I live with it. I watch it evolve. I am always connected to the piece but I realize to that there is time to let it go. I know I can never recreate a particular work, but I can continue creating.”
George O’Keefe once said,” Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant…Making your unknown known is the important thing.” It is that desire to create, for the appreciation, for the feedback, for the self-satisfaction that makes Marcy’s work intriguing and compelling.
Marcy’s work is currently part of the California Dreaming exhibit at the Izen Miller Gallery. For more information visit www.izenmillergallery.com. For more information about Marcy Gregory visit www.marcygregory.com.