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Evolution of Medium
Marina Dunbar is a talented artist based in Charleston, SC, where she works at the Redux studio. Born in Minsk, Belarus, Marina moved to the US when she was nine and has been exploring art throughout her life, but only started to take it seriously in her sophomore year of high school. Now a graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Columbus University, she works full time as a contemporary artist. Marina describes her style as an evolution to a 3D art form rather than 2D, a decision that came to her after taking a sculpting class in college.
This reflects in her beautiful work, and the process she uses to make it. Her studio is large, bright, and airy, giving her plenty of room to move around and toy with the painting, manipulating it not just with a brush, but also manually – with her hands. As she says,“I often manipulate the surface of the painting. Tilting and bending it to guide the painting and shape the image. My relationship with the medium is very physical.” Her work with resin (Ed. – a sticky flammable organic substance, used as the basis of plastics, adhesives, varnishes, or other products) in particular reflects this, as she mixes oil paint with resin by hand to get the desired color and then moves the resin around the surface of a wood panel using a heat gun.
“I often manipulate the surface of the painting. Tilting and bending it to guide the painting and shape the image. My relationship with the medium is very physical.”
Marina uses a variety of different media to create her paintings – watercolor and resin being her two main mediums, with her resin work, in particular, gathering a lot of attention, understandably so. She subtly intertwines the spontaneity of the resin medium with the careful, precise control of a well-practiced artist, creating beautiful pieces with incredible depth and a transfixing mirage of light and shadow. “I was drawn to resin because it embodies certain qualities that I think resonate with my work. Resin is popular for its potential to create impromptu patterns and designs, but I find beauty in marrying its spontaneous tendencies with a sense of restraint,” Marina explains.
One look at her work, and you won’t fail to notice the influences of color and natural form, which Marina finds looking at X-rays taken of flowers by a radiologist in the 1930’s. The transparency of color and flowing natural forms are the main themes in her work. However, Marina doesn’t limit herself when it comes to inspiration, as she explains: “I am inspired by the interaction between color and the relationship between space and boundary. My interests lie in the dichotomy of an industrial material evolving past its commercial purposes to convey an organic ambiance.”
Unlike many young artists, Marina takes a very positive outlook on both her work and her ability to thrive as an artist in the current environment. “I think right now is the best time to be an artist,” she insists, “We have the ability to reach an international audience through independent efforts. Today conditions are more favorable than ever for artists to have a thriving career,” and indeed, Marina is a prime example of a young artist thriving through her work, with exhibitions across the country, and an upcoming solo show in September at Miller Gallery in Charleston.
Marina hopes her work can act as a visual meditation for the viewer, with its beautiful toned colors and soft sweeping shapes. The process behind the pieces themselves requires so much thought and presence, that this mindful creation then shines through, especially in her resin pieces. As she describes, “There is a sense of urgency in the process, as the resin has a short ‘work time’ and it becomes even shorter when heat is applied. It demands me to be intentional and alert.”