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Balian_On the Patio with Omar copy

Marsha Balian

There are three elements that compel the production of art for me.  The first is a sense of mystery.  I never know what will appear as I am working on a piece of art.  I may begin the process with shadowy notions, but in many respects it is the force of curiosity that holds my attention captive.  It is like reading a “whodunit” without the structure of a crime.  I want to carry on until the conclusion.

Which isn’t to say that the work completes itself or arrives with ghostly aid.  But there is still a riddle to be solved, an equation to be resolved, a conundrum to be settled that I find more compelling or absorbing than any other activity in life.

I have no formal training or instruction in art.  So the second element is invention.  I test an idea, use whatever materials may be at hand, incorporate found objects, papers, detritus.   The risks of failure are perhaps no different than any other pursuit, even with the benefit of instruction.  But stubbornness trumps failure and I try until something works, at least to my own satisfaction.

The third influence for me is the power of story, both my own and that of others. Embedded In memory, or swimming in our thoughts, we all replay the narrative of our lives, perhaps to make sense of it, perhaps to extract threads of meaning.  And our current experience interacts with our past.

I now retired from a long career as a health care provider, something I enjoyed immensely and that nourished my artwork in sometimes inexplicable ways.  Like many of us in these unchartered waters outside of the work force, I am floating around in search of new narratives, new sources of meaning and new opportunities to celebrate and laugh.

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