Saturday, September 10, 2011

Featured Artist: Marielle Sinclair


First of all, please introduce yourself to our readers that might not be familiar with you and your work.

Featured artist Marielle Sinclair. Photo: Jason O'Keefe

I am Marielle Sinclair. I was born in Port Jefferson, Long Island New York but lived in Colorado most of my life until I moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1997. I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) in 2004 with a BFA in Sculpture. I lived and worked out of the Distillery in South Boston for five years but currently my studio is where I reside in Dorchester.

When and how did you get interested in art making?

I think I really became serious about art when I was in high school. I remember being obsessed with my photography and drawing classes. The teachers were really amazing and I still keep in touch with them today. I remember drawing creatures all the time and my parents used to ask me why I couldn’t draw anything nice.

When I graduated I thought the realistic thing to do was to try and get into Illustration even though I was sculpting in clay and secretly fancied getting into special makeup or monster making for movies! I was accepted into Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) for Illustration but things eventually led me to Boston instead.

Marielle's studio, 2011. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

When I moved out here I started taking classes at New England Institute of Art and MassArt, I got into Montserrat College of Art but waited until MassArt granted me admission into their Illustration program in 2000. However, I quickly realized how completely mediocre I was at Illustration and sculpture had secretly been luring me toward it for a while. It was a scary decision but I made the leap into sculpture instead. I absolutely fell in love with the limitless bounty of materials which were at my disposal, each one speaking a different language.

Currently, what type of job(s) you do besides making art?

I have been lucky to only have had art related jobs after college. I worked at a bronze foundry since I loved metal casting and wax working so much. I have worked as a wax worker, as a fabricator, mold maker, art handler etc.

Marielle working on large mold for Ray Pisano sculpture,
New England Sculpture Service, 2005

I am completely obsessed with welding, so I have taken multiple TIG welding classes as an attempt to try and satisfy that side of the metalworking urge. I suppose I just love building in general because I find working with my hands extremely satisfying and for me to continue doing so has been a never-ending goal of mine.

Please tell us a bit about your work in general. What media do you work in? What are the inspirations behind the creation of your work? What is the specific message you would like to convey to your viewers? Would you like to discuss a bit your creative process?

When I was at MassArt I was becoming so drawn into Fibers and Metals and I felt I had to decide how to focus the remainder of my education, then I had this teacher who reminded me of how I would most likely never have the opportunity to learn metalworking any other way then by learning it at Massart. I am so glad she gave me this advice because it has been a source of pride for me to have picked up some useful metalworking skills.

Marielle receiving aluminum at the foundry, MassArt, 2003

I have always been obsessed with anything industrial so naturally I was completely mesmerized by the metalshop, it was this dark, intriguing place, hidden deep in the basement. The processes of foundry and welding were the most magnetic for me. I was attracted and frustrated by these hard, industrial materials which I wanted so badly to manipulate into something organic. Foundry ended up being the way to accomplish this; it is also where I discovered wax, which is an essential element in my work.

I created a series of fabric manipulations which were inspired by a major surgery I had so I was pretty preoccupied with almost performing these little surgeries on organic or anatomical forms.

Marielle Sinclair, Manipulation 2 (detail), 10 x 10 x 2",
fabric and thread, 2003. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Marielle Sinclair, Samples 4-5 (detail), 3 x 3 x 1",
fabric and thread, 2003. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

The soft sculptures were definitely more abstract then my more “figurative” current work. Eventually after making many of these soft sculptures with fabric, I noticed how unsatisfied I was with only using one material.

Marielle Sinclair, Little Burdens, (detail) size of installation varies,
pantyhose, batting, pins and thread, 2007. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Marielle Sinclair, Dark Heart, 20 1/2 x 8 x 8", wire,
wax, thread and wood, 2003.Photo: Marielle Sinclair

I began to transition into the use of fabric, wire and wax. Dark Heart was the first wire and wax piece that I created and there is really no other way to explain it other than that it was love at first sight. I have been captivated by these creatures in mixed materials ever since.

Marielle Sinclair, Twins, 3 1/2 x 6 x 2", wire, wax,
pantyhose and thread, 2007. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Marielle Sinclair, Twins (detail), 3 1/2 x 6 x 2", wire wax,
pantyhose and thread, 2007. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

So I consider myself a mixed media sculptor with a bit of an obsession for metal. You can definitely see that split of interest between soft sculpture and metalwork in my art. The metal often represents restriction, structure, and mankind’s need to control, whereas the soft materials have vulnerability, and a life span.

Process shot of 13 Bees, 2011. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Marielle Sinclair, 13 Bees, size of installation varies, wire, wax,
paper, beads and thread, 2011. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

The process is immensely important to me, the act of assembling, disassembling, fragmentation and analysis, constructing and deconstructing are ever present in my work.

Marielle Sinclair, Spill, 5 x 2 x 3", fabric, wire, wax, sinew,
hair, beads and thread, 2007. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Marielle Sinclair, Spill (detail), 5 x 2 x 3", fabric, wire, wax,
sinew, hair, beads and thread, 2007. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

I adore sewing, by hand and machine and wire working. I would absolutely consider myself a wire worker above all else and currently most of my small scale sculptures are articulated creatures which emerge out of wire and found materials.

Process shot, 2009. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Marielle Sinclair, Not So Velveteen Rabbit, 4 x 6 x 2 1/2", wire, wax,
fabric, thread, hair and velvet, 4 x 6 x 2 1/2", 2009. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

I collect the waste from my process and manipulate it. I intuitively grab all the fabric clippings, pulled threads, wax blobs and jagged wire cast offs in hopes that a creature will emerge and reveal its personality and quirks to me.

Marielle Sinclair,The Condition of Being Neglected, 12 x 7 x 5 1/2",
pantyhose, wax,
burlap, thread and wood, 2004. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

I am pretty preoccupied with expressing vulnerability in my work, lately it has been coming out in the form of creatures impacted by man’s interference with nature.

Marielle Sinclair, Quilt, 2 1/2 x 4 x 2 1/2", wire, wax, hair,
burlap and dress pattern paper, 2003. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Marielle Sinclair, Victim, 3 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 5", wire, wax,
hair, burlap and thread, 2004. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

After the “automatic writing-like” process of bringing forth these creatures, I enjoy setting up little sets with warm lighting and shooting close up photos of them, which remind me of crime scenes or film stills.

Marielle Sinclair, Charlotte, 12 x 10 x 4", wire, wax, paper, thread,
copper pipe, dust, and found crate, 2011. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Marielle Sinclair, Scuttering Brat (detail), size of installation varies, wire,
wax, fabric, thread and beads, 2011. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

I actually had the opportunity a couple years ago to make some prototypes for a stop-motion animation music video that was to be called, Shattered, unfortunately it never happened.

Sculptures for the stop motion animation music video, Shattered, wire,
wax, hair, burlap, latex and thread, 2009. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Would you like to inform our readers of your recent and current exhibition(s)?

I recently showed some work in the Small Obsessions show curated by Carolyn Wirth. This exhibition was held at the Somerville Museum in Somerville, Massachusetts back in June.

Marielle Sinclair, Itchy Itchy Itchy, 3 x 12 x 3", wire, wax, ribbon,
taxidermy eyes,
thread and found box, 2011. Photo: Carolyn Wirth

Marielle Sinclair, Itchy Itchy Itchy, 2 x 2 x 1", wire, wax, ribbon, taxidermy eyes,
and thread, 2011. Photo: Marielle Sinclair

Please follow these links for reviews of this exhibition:

Would you like to share your contact info with our readers?

Marielle in her studio, 2009, Photo: Jason O'Keefe

Your readers may contact me at or visit my website at to learn more about my work.