Nature-inspired Printmaker Marisa Keller 1: Waves
Welcome to a new week here on DDoA! We continue with our love month’s feature on female foreign artists in Singapore who are truly passionate about their art form. This week I bring you nature-inspired Dutch printmaker MARISA KELLER.
A couple of years ago, I took some printmaking classes with Marisa at her studio at the Wessex Estate (an artists’ colony in Singapore). As a teacher, I admire her for the kindness and warm support she generously extends to her students. As an artist, I salute her indefatigable spirit for never ceasing to explore elements in nature that she can integrate into her prints. Let’s get to know Marisa Keller and her nature-inspired art…
|Meet Dutch Printmaker MARISA KELLER
Photo taken at her private studio at Wessex Estate, Singapore
DDoA: Tell us a little bit about yourself. (whatever you want to share: everyday life, family, education, your move to Singapore from Holland)
MK: I am originally from the Netherlands and moved to Singapore with my husband in 1993. I was already a practicing artist and art instructor in painting in the Netherlands. It was not until my move to Singapore that I started printmaking with a special focus on handprinted reduction woodcuts. Soon after in 1994 I had the first opportunity to exhibit my work in a group show. Many shows followed and in 2000 I decided to do some in depth study into the different printmaking techniques and obtained a master’s degree in printmaking. I bought my own etching press and set up a studio. At first, I shared a studio with other artists. Then in 2006 I set up a private studio at one of the flats at Wessex Estate, where my husband and myself now live.
DDoA: When and how did you get started with art? with printmaking?
MK:I grew up in Vlissingen (Flushing), Zeeland which is a river delta area in the south of the Netherlands. My parents were both artistic people. Painting and photography were serious hobbies for members of my father’s side of the family, so art materials were always readily available. As a child, I loved to draw and paint. Thus, from an early age my only wish was to become an artist and art teacher. I remember when I was about 7 years old I did my first print. It was an experimental linocut on fabric. Printing was done not with a roller and ink but with oil crayons while the plate was on an ancient stove, melting the wax on the lino plate! A piece of cotton on top, rubbing with a spoon and a beautiful exciting print was made…
DDoA: Who/What inspired you to dedicate your life to the arts?
MK: My inspiration is the natural world around us. I am an artist who draws ideas from observation. Sometimes simple things such as light falling on grass or an intricite texture on a stone can trigger a whole series of ideas and works. These observations are linked to deeper meanings and concepts. I like to play, combine and change the original context of the subject. I find it important to engage viewers into the work. In some series, I play with formal components of the work colour, textures and tone. In other works, the position and interaction of the viewer with the installation will bring forth a message. My work aims to evoke an intuitive experience and reflects on how we see ourselves as part of and not apart from nature.
The following are the recurring subjects of my art: the properties of water and the sea, pebbles and stones, the edge where water meets land and coastlines. Local images like the fantastic tropical landscape, the trees and plants are used as a concept in series of works too.
DDoA: Tell us a little bit about non-toxic intaglio and relief techniques that you promote through classes and workshops.
MK: After I did my MFA, I decided to do an extra course in Denmark to learn about non-toxic methods in etching. Printmaking can be an unhealthy practice for the artist as well as the environment. In the nineties, some artists developed alternative water-based and acrylic-based etching techniques and I was interested to learn them for my own practice. The course in Denmark was a very positive experience that I decided to introduce the techniques in the etching courses that I teach.
People who are interested in printmaking can learn etching at my studio using acrylic-based products without using any solvents. It’s nice because there are no fumes in the studio and everybody can join the course, even when you are pregnant or when you are allergic!
The best thing about non-toxic printmaking is that it has extra technical possibilities in etching that would otherwise be difficult to achieve using more traditional methods.
Learn Non-Toxic PRINTMAKING with Marisa, check out her upcoming course offerings
| Photo Courtesy of the artist
The Print Output:
MK: “Waves” is an installation that I created in 2003 with a particular exhibition space in mind. Linden Gallery in Melbourne is situated in a historical 19th century building close to the sea and with beautiful bay windows. The ‘Waves’ installation consists of 8 ‘banners’ of silk with abstracted images of waves and was installed on one of the bay windows. The layered monotype and woodcut techniques that I used on the silk resembles the effect of a stained window.
MK: The work is related to earlier works that I created in 2000 and 2001. This was the period I did my master’s. Apart from developing work in print, I produced several video installations. These bigger works were all researching human connections to the sea and how water environments influence our life. The films were projected on long overlapping banners of sheer fabric creating a flowing layered water environment. Viewers were able to walk through the installation, creating shadows that would become part of the image.
|“WAVES” Video Installation by Marisa Keller
Films projected on long overlapping banners
of sheer fabric
Photo Courtesy of the artist
Today’s Quote on WAVES:
“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamouring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”