Art We Heart: Marian Tubbs
February 29th 2016
Anna May Kirk
Marian Tubbs is the queen of merging the URL and the IRL.
The rise of the internet and the ‘digital age’ has created a world in which we are saturated by signs and symbols on a daily basis. From emojis on our screens to those pesky pop-up ads on our browsers, the constant bombardment of visual stimulus has changed the way we see and read the world around us.
Marian Tubbs is a Sydney based assemblage-installation, video and internet artist. In her work, she uses our ability to visually investigate our online and offline environments to create new meaning. Her work combines digital painting and visuals from random locations: emojis floating next to waterfalls, everyday items encased in breakable glass, texts reading “Star Sign Truths” and “Raw Girls Taste Better”. Marian embraces the kitsch, cute, crass, worthless and even ugly in her assemblages. When these things come into play with each other, new metaphors are created. This forces us to think about the value of the original as well as our response to the new artwork.
Tubbs has a “total crush on value”. She believes that artists have an inherent means of creating value both financially and culturally. She is particularly interested in what is culturally valued and “fucking with it” – questioning what we do or don’t value and why. Frequently using everyday objects in her work, she selects items which hold deep emotional value due to their familiarity in daily life. She then encases these objects in glass, strews them on the floor or assembles them together, all in the rarified context of the gallery. This transforms the objects, thereby playing with their original significance and questioning their transformed value as they undergo the poetic process of becoming art.
“If I don’t feel embarrassed by my work sometimes, I feel like I’m not pushing my own boundaries,” she has stated.
When we meet, she extends to say, “I don’t want to be curated within an inch of myself, mess is paramount – both in content and form.” Marian inserts sparks of provocation in her pieces – including words such as ‘fisting’ – to encourage an emotional response from her audience and challenge the ‘smart girl artist’ stereotype. Despite the controversy some of her works have caused in the past, she shrugs it off. “At least it shows us that we are excited.”
It is a well known fact by anyone Marian has shared a studio with that she loves all different kinds hip hop. She blares the internet radio venture of Das Racist – ‘Chillin Island’ – on the regular while she works. No doubt the comedic rap show will be playing in the background as she prepares for her upcoming shows ‘Abstract Sex’ at The CCS Bard Galleries and Hessel Museum of Art, NY and her upcoming solo show in August at Minerva, Sydney. Marian is also March’s Cointemporary.com artist, an initiative by artists Andy Boot and Valentin Ruhry, only available to buy via Bitcoin.
When we part, Marian thanks me for my immaterial labours (acknowledging I am creating one more piece of value with this article). You can catch her work IRL at Alaska Projects‘ schmick new exhibition space at 73 – 75 William St, Darlinghurst. She is exhibiting alongside contemporaries Samuel Hodge, Catherine Clayton-Smith, Daniel Hollier, Natalya Hughes, Holly MacDonald and Kate Scardifield in the group show ‘Permanent Vacation’ until the 6th of March.
Marian Tubbs, modality, 2015, pigment print on cut silk, 70 cm x 100 cm
Marian Tubbs, under striates (false semblance) 2015 inkjet print on silk (georgette), wood, steel, rubber, synthetic polymer resin, metal
Marian Tubbs, orbiting (a melodrama), 2016, digital video, 4 minutes
Marian Tubbs, transmission detox, 2015, 10 webpages and live analytics
WHAT: Permanent Vacation
WHERE: ALASKA Projects, 73 – 75 William St, Darlinghurst
WHEN: Until 6th March
HOW MUCH: Free – more info here