Marley Johnson is currently in his third year Masters of Fine Art at Concordia University. He is in the process of developing a thesis exhibition that will complete his studies. Throughout the past four years Marley has graduated from his undergrad at NSCAD University, he was awarded a travel exchange to Cooper Union in New York City, thus his first solo exhibition “Spibble Hop”, which was work he made in response to his time there. Marley was apart of a yearlong artist residency in Lunenburg NS in 2016 where he was awarded a creation grant through Arts Nova scotia to make a series of paintings that reflected notions of the sacred and profane.
While entering his Masters Marley wanted to develop the relationship between figure grounds which was reflected through abstraction. His initial proposal was to deepen his relationship to a formal practice that perhaps can embody collective and individualistic spirits. This came out of his research around collective effervescence, ultimately drawing him into a complex relationship between painting and materiality.
Marley’s relationship to a studio practice provides him access to psychological centres in which he develops and synthesizes the multiplicity of assemblage. His thought is that in order to embody a system of collective emergences there should be a multitude of occurrences within one space. Marley in this sense takes on a maximalist approach, introducing found materials, dyed canvas that are sewn, stretched, draped, ripped, torn, patched, cut, brushedinto different gridded formations.
Guided by a sense of melancholy, colour or materials that are chosen often involve a contemplative virtue, where thoughts and memory synthesize into their essence. This is a compass that guides Marley through a process of collecting and constructing. Within his studio stacks of materials spiral, dance and flirt next to each other, a constellation of renewing orders that with time fined their permanent place.
Marley fuses the relationship between gestural abstraction and the construction of a material practice, this in turn becomes a dualistic play that has been woven throughout the emergence of his art practice. Within this play he often embeds dualism, seen as positive negative relationships within the figure ground. This duality challenges the way in which optical spaces are preformed and assembled, bridging two worlds between the conscious and unconscious.