Marianne Spurr considers herself a ‘forager of fabric and materials,’ one ‘drawn like a magpie to cloth and it’s varying patterns, textures, weights.’ Found items mingle in her studio until the artist’s identification of potential combinations leads to acts of making that explore the relationship between materiality and process. Within Spurr’s practice objects are self-sufficient, replete with interior meaning; yet, when decontextualised, physically altered and repositioned in just the right configuration, they are liable to spark new associations. The resulting assemblages, although steeped in their composite history, generate narratives of labour, communication and gender. Spurr approaches exhibitions as she does the creation of individual works, conceiving of the former as ‘multi-layered sculptural arrangements’ whose component parts, unanchored from previous contexts, drift and collide, producing temporary formations and unstable micro-contexts.
Spurr’s recent work The Blue of Distance, 2013 incorporates ‘lino, metal, emergency blanket, waxed cotton, MDF, cable, oil paint on newsprint, wire, ceramic tiles, clay, ink on acetate, plastic tubing, string, acrylic paint mould, blind, chair, acrylic on gauze, [and] glass.’ This profusion of component parts is composed on top of a rigid grid, overseen by a bright blue office chair nearby that is itself swamped by a grubby canvas. In this way, the grid’s long-standing pretensions toward rationality are brought into contact with the vitality of individual forms.
The polluted grid recurs in Spurr’s work, as do explorations of the nature of flatness and transparency, which supposed enemies of illusion are revealed to harbour inconsistencies and fictions of their own. In Untitled, 2013, an MDF board is drilled with holes that almost form a grid, and which an untidy tangle of tubing fails to fully connect. Spurr’s exploration of off-balance construction is echoed in Untitled (ally): a metal grill, which distinctly resembles an oven rack, overlaid with a square of translucent material. The material is patterned with smudges of oil, in contrast to the luminous circles of paint that are visible on the grill. This uneasy alliance of the domestic and the mechanical is also present in Plateaus, 2013, a constellation of neat three-dimensional compositions. Dirt, concrete and oil are present in tidy formation, alongside needles and ceramic tiles. The dominating element, however, is a duvet-cover with large pastel squares, tightly stretched over a plank of wood. This incorporation of disparate and alien items into the grid structure thoroughly undermines its rigid logic of demarcation, allowing more fluid connections to emerge between objects.
Marianne Spurr studied at the Ruskin School of Art (BA Fine Art) and the Royal College of Art (MA Painting, completed in 2012). Previous solo or two-person shows include Awaiting further instructions, Provrummet, Sweden (2013); and Samara Scott & Marianne Spurr, Seventeen gallery, London (2012). In 2013 Spurr has also participated in Young London, V22, London; Pop Tarts, James Fuentes gallery, New York; Managing Bounces, Cell Project Space, London and Paradise Garage, Eighty1, London. Previous group shows include Plenitude, Carl Freedman gallery, London, curated by Stephan Tanbin Sastrawidjaja; LOT, Cul de sac gallery, London, curated by NV projects; System of Objects, Gracechurch Street, London and Performing surfaces, CASS gallery, London (all 2012).