Location: Columbia, MO
Featured Work: Hold It Together
Source: 2017-2018 CIVA Sourcebook
From curator Michelle Westmark Wingard.
Marcus Miers’ smart use of materials conveys mourning and loss with sensitivity and humor.
Describe your featured work.
At the time, I was making work about loss and grief. There were some close family members that passed away in that season, and I was struck by how difficult it was to discuss the topic of death. Instead, I focused on the process of grieving and how that shapes relationships and interactions with people that I either knew well or were acquaintances. Part of the body of work explored common phrases associated with grief and living life after loved ones pass, so this piece was about the idea of keeping everything together in spite of the feeling that part of your world is falling apart. I used duct tape because of its visual associations to bandages, but also because of its material history in anxious, temporary repairs. Sometimes grief feels like you are making do with what you have and you try to move on in the best way possible.
As an artist, I’m always asking questions about what the materials are and how they function so I can come up with ways to disrupt the expectations for that material. This piece is made of duct tape, but the tape is not holding anything together, it just doubles over on itself. I created a paradox where the tape doesn’t stick to anything but itself, and instead, it is held together with staples and wire. Duct tape is supposed to be functional, but I forced it into the world of allegory for this body of work.
I am a traditional artist with a focus on representation. Do you know the thing where if you rub your eyes and see an afterimage of stars and colors afterward? That’s kind of what I’m trying to do with my work. Sometimes life pushes you into situations where you temporarily see and understand things in a way you weren’t able to before. No matter how awkward, absurd, uncomfortable, or underwhelming, I try to make representations of those kinds of events in my life with the material that seems most appropriate to me. My work is somewhat a selfish musing or psalm that helps me understand what my life is and how I can view the redemptive pressures of every new chapter.
What are you making now?
My wife and I just uprooted and moved to a different state two months ago, and we’re about to have our second baby within the next few weeks. He might be born by the time this is published. So, I’m going to start a new body of work about that.
I have recently been working on a series of drawings using office supplies during my lunch breaks at work. Still not sure what’s going on with them, but it’s mostly a way to keep busy and find a way to make work between my career and being a new parent. I guess in some way, that’s what the work is about — zoning out in the few precious moments I have when I’m not responsible for anything, and giving myself license to visually journal that passage of time.
Why do you belong to CIVA?
I’m with CIVA because of the people I’ve met. Some of the best conversations about art and theology I’ve had have been with CIVA folks, and it’s important to keep that kind of community going.
Marcus is equal parts artist, technologist, and educator. He and his family live in Columbia, Missouri, where he creates online courses and makes drawings and sculptures in his free time. He has shown work across the country in small group and solo shows. Marcus graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an MFA in 2015, where he was awarded an Honorable Mention for the Chazen Prize, an award given to the best graduating MFA candidate.