|Marnie first came to Greene Art Gallery in 2014 with the Habitat for Artists Project and her husband Simon Draper. Her talent, vibrancy and good spirit let us know that we had a true "star" among us. Marnie's support of the Habitat Project and the Greene Art Gallery came from the heart and soul of a very generous artist and person. She left us too soon but her artwork speaks for her love of nature and optimistic outlook on all of life. Love you Marnie and miss you!
Marnie Hillsley was originally from Minnesota; She arrived in New York by way of Montana State University and Virginia Commonwealth University where she received her M.F.A. in Sculpture in 1983.
Hillsley's approach to artmaking begins by taking walks for inspiration and studying the forms of trees. In a complex and layered process she begins by photographing trees, and uses the silhouetted forms of branches as her reference material. From these black and white tree photographs, she creates drawings, which are then traced onto plywood. The next step is to cut the plywood forms, paint them in contrasting colors and compose them into multi-layered final wall objects, which are then hung in grid formation. The resulting work exists somewhere between painting and sculpture and the visual effect is striking and optically engaging. Hillsley's repetitive and cumulative process of layering creates an overall pattern, though the tree reference is always present enough to give the work added meaning and emotional resonance, never totally dissolving into abstraction.
Ms. Hillsley's use of positive and negative space talks about the relationship of painting and sculpture and the ambiguous spaces that exist in-between. Hillsley creates sculptural objects that resonate as paintings, where color is used in a sophisticated way to create visual pleasure.
"Although Hillsley's work appears naturalistic, it is actually a vehicle for exploring the understructure of nature. The work is intensely formal yet built around allegory and poetry. Her color palette is serenely elegant and favors a range of blue violets with complements of subtle, rusty oranges and inky greens. Her pieces play with complimentary colors, some layers resembling a bark-like rubbing, or a surface of actual leaves in a built-up plaster base like the process of uncovering an archeological dig."
As stated by Germaine Keller, 2004