Fragments of Flinders - Catalogue Essay
by Gillian Marsden (TAS)
Marisa’s Flinders Island residency has been the catalyst for her making a key shift from the species level to that of the site specific with the fragments, or species, becoming contextualized by their geographic locale.
Being an island child, I remember the satisfying moment when it became known to me that islands are in fact inundated mountains. If the sea drained away, these islands would remain and we would climb them seeking horizon lines. How pleasing the logic that these apparently marooned objects or spaces are in fact mirages of fragmentation, interconnected by submerged geographies. Thus, our forays along beaches are times spent on the finest skree slopes edged by clouds, sea, water, or surf.
It is often upon these finest skree slopes that Marisa’s practice as a landscape artist is worked. A locale that I think is no accident given her maternal lineage to the island of Corfu where the colour of the sea is an anchor, and a familial house is dissolving back into the island: a back room still spinning on a child’s grace.
Core to Marisa’s work is the meditative practice of combing beaches. A practice of surrendering to the gleaning: you find what you find (fragments), you accept your gifts and you make do. They are guides. Determinants. Encouraging of evolution. The precision of the comb is incongruous. In neat twists in semantics, Marisa takes these fragments, edges of the edge, and transfers them into pliable imprints, and reforms them into new wholes, or, new fragments.
At which there is the consideration that fragment implies that at one point there was a whole (a whole continent, an entire land mass, earth plate) and I wonder at the secret ratio between ‘entirety’ and ‘fragment’: the tipping point between a chipped whole, a shattered teacup, a main-land, the unraveling of lace-coral..