Create Magazine Feature

Marisa Green (American, b. 1978) is a mixed media artist, primarily working in cut paper. She received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2001. Her work has been shown throughout the Pacific Northwest in galleries such as Disjecta. She has had solo exhibitions at Gallery 135, Duplex Gallery, as well as the Multnomah County Art Center. Her work has also been featured in online publications such as This is Colossal and Strictly Paper

Marisa lives and works in Portland, Oregon. 


My work explores mathematics, connections, and meditation through the use of geometric shapes, patterns, and the art of physical repetition. I construct time intensive installations, sculptures, and 2D works out of cut paper, based upon numeric relationships and multiples of a single form—inspired by nature’s exquisite precision. 

Often times, color is used to draw out a form within a form, revealing layered configurations hiding in plain sight. Bright, saturated hues juxtapose neutrals adding additional layers of interlocking shapes. 

Through suspension techniques, weaving, and/or construction, these complex patterns symbolize the life force that molds each of us and our unique experiences. Through focus and introspection, my work attempts to connect us all to a shared awareness of boundless unity.

Dilate Opening

Writing a show statement is a deeply personal experience for me. As much as I want the viewer to walk away with their own interpretation of the work, I always have a concept established that weaves the pieces together. Sometimes the concept comes to me in the beginning stages, but often times it comes to me in the middle of the night after the work is complete. 

In a bizarre twist of fate (on more than one occasion) the show statement has predicted events in my life, months after the show comes down. It's grounding to experience that level of intuition, when life speaks through art.

Dilate was different in that it was helping me to work through the complicated emotions of becoming a first-time parent. It's the crazy love you have for your child, the moment you truly appreciate your parents for the first time, when you experience the connection with your mother--understanding that for 9 months (give or take) you were growing inside her. Life is incredible and our bodies are remarkable vessels.

Show Statement

Marisa’s current exhibition Dilate examines the topics of inception, growth, and birth, as well as the sense of profound awareness that accompanies them. It delves into the brief period of time when one’s role transitions from child to parent, in the continuation of an ancient cycle. This shift in perspective invites a new understanding of the parent/child relationship, and in the new role of parent, an unmatched broadening of the heart. From the depths of the universe we emerge and to the depths we inevitably return. The precious time between is what feeds the breath of the cosmos.

Dilate Process

The work in this exhibition is a bit of a departure from my usual large scale installations. I've been wanting to work smaller for a while, but still incorporate some aesthetics from my installation work. In all honesty, the idea stemmed from a conversation I had with Tom Sachs after a lecture I was able to attend a few years ago. I was agonizing over whether large scale work was sustainable at this stage in my career. Without hesitation, he told me to keep doing what I was doing but to find a way to work on a smaller scale. The advice was simple, almost too obvious, but I hadn't considered it because I couldn't envision what that might look like... until now.

While maintaining a small body of 2-D framed paper cuts for "Dilate", I chose to create both wall hangings as well as free standing pieces that incorporate the suspension techniques I enjoy executing.

Shown above are a few process photos of the various pieces I just described. The third photo illustrates the first pattern and color palette for "Gestation." I tinkered with this for a while, wanting to incorporate a variety of colors. In the end, both the patterns and colors weren't working. I simplified it a few times before ending up with the finished piece, shown in the eighth photo.

You can see the Illustrator file in image 5. This was after I deconstructed the original layout for print and color, organizing each individual wooden circle's components for production. It was a labor of love to hand cut each circle, hand mix the colors, paint each piece, assemble and glue. I love the finished work as individual art pieces and as a whole. In the end the 39 circles represent the 39 weeks of pregnancy, illustrating cell division and growth. 

For "Womb" shown in images 9-11, I knew almost exactly what I wanted to do from the start. I chose to make the piece rock, illustrating the calming motion of the womb, a cradle, or a mother swaying back and forth. The accompanying sound of the triangular shapes gently touching one another as the work moves back and forth is both soothing and mesmerizing.

The most difficult phase, besides the actual construction of the wooden circles, was figuring out how to suspend the strings. I didn't want to see the tops or bottoms sticking out and I needed the monofilament to have a certain amount of rigidity to maintain the integrity of each line. After brainstorming with my husband (my partner is art and construction) we managed to work through a series of solutions, landing on the insertion of small dowels that we could wind into place and glue from the inside. The finished piece is exactly what I envisioned--seamless.

Art of Music Opening

I was asked to participate in the Art of Music at Gallery 135. I chose to explore a 3-dimensional version of the iconic Pink Floyd album cover, The Dark Side of the Moon. I was never a huge fan of Pink Floyd, but admittedly found an appreciation for them after working on this project. I chose this subject matter because the prism of light is so undeniably recognizable, that I had to recreate it as an install. It's one of those images that exists beyond music and has taken on a cultural relevance all its own.

"The way we hear music is how we see art. Art of Music is based around the music scene of the 1960's-1990's. A rich period when graffiti, punk, rock, reggae, and hip hop emerged from the underground."


CAP Art Auction

Here are a few photos from the 2015 CAP Art Auction. There were so many incredible artists represented to help this important charity. Cascade Aids Art Project raises around $600,000 to support and empower people living with or affected by HIV and to prevent new infections. The auction draws around 1,500 people annually.

I was thrilled to be a part of this incredible event and to garner a spot in the Curator's Choice category. For more information about the Cascade Aids Art Project, visit their website.

Expanse Opening

Expanse was an installation that I had been dying to make for a while. Ever since the Intersect opening, when attendees were clamoring to lay on the gallery floor to look up at the installation, I knew I had to execute an experience that would encourage the viewer to face the work from below. 

Expanse Show Statement

There exists a quiet state of openness when the sky is peacefully observed. Suffering and doubt fall away and we find ourselves embraced by a confident state of knowing. The vast expanse is a subtle yet grounding force. Time ceases and faith emerges whole and ever-present. The patterns and complexities of life mold each of us into unique beings—no two ever to be the same, and still the quality of the stars and the sky have a special way of connecting us all to a shared awareness of boundless unity.

Interactive 3D Gallery Tour
Click on Front / Center / Back for more angles

Duplex Gallery Feature

We were able to sit down with Marisa in her studio to talk about paper, math, and her upcoming installation, Expanse, opening this week! Check out the photos and interview below to get a sneak peek!  Read the full interview here.

Intersect Opening

The opening reception of Intersect at Gallery 135 in Portland, OR. June, 2014

In June, 2013, I'll be exhibiting a show of new cut paper works at Gallery 135, including a collaborative portrait series with photographer Christian Columbres. At the center of these pieces comes "Intersect," an 5.4' x 3.4' x 8.4' suspended paper installation. Two isosceles tetrahedron shapes will hang suspended in mid air, intersecting at the center point. These shapes are made up of over 1,850 individually suspended paper pyramids. Like two people crossing paths in life, these shapes independent of one another, will be represented by two different shades of gray. At the point of intersection, a kaleidoscope of color will emerge, symbolizing a coalescence of the two forms. These two energies forever alter one another. The lessons and memories remain, while the point of merger, the experience of meeting, is impermanent and the journey continues.

Intersect Portrait Series

“Michelle and Nicole (friends)” / mixed media photo collage / 2013
“Michael and Josh (father and son)” / mixed media photo collage / 2013
“Amron and Theo (Mother and son)” / mixed media photo collage / 2013 / 

The Intersect portrait series was created in collaboration with photographer Christian Columbres. This series combines images of paired family members and friends amongst geometric overlays. These elements represent the inner workings of human relationships, depicting the close-knit patterns that keep two people connected. Whether it be through love, humor, tragedy, genetics or the many countless things that bond two people together.

Intersect Portrait Outakes

During our photoshoot for the Intersect Portraits, photographer Christian Columbres decided to have an impromptu photo session to test out some lighting techniques. The studio, with its high ceilings and large scale windows produced some interesting shadows and light play. We had fun messing around before the models arrived for the real shoot.

Intersect Portrait Process

 The Intersect portrait series was created in conjunction with photographer Christian Columbres. This series combines images of paired family members and friends amongst geometric overlays. These elements represent the inner workings of human relationships, depicting the close-knit patterns that keep two people connected. Whether it be through love, humor, tragedy, genetics or the many countless things that bond two people together.


Intersect Process

The process that I go through in creating suspended paper installations is very time intensive and detailed. I always start with a sketch and try to create site specific work whenever possible. My studio space is designed to be extremely mobile. Everything has wheels so that I can move shelves and tables around to allow for more space for the installation construction. Here are some images detailing the process of creating Intersect.