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Small yet splendid

The works of artist Marina DiCarlo-Wierichs imbue scientific images with character, motion and tension


SHE IS the youngest of a family of physicians and grew up with scientific imagery surrounding her. The microscope allowed her to see a world that is an integral part of our world but one, which we can never experience. This account is not about a medical scientist, as one would assume, rather of an artist for whom the microscopic world otherwise denied to our normal vision has become a springboard of inspiration. Meet Marina DiCarlo-Wierichs, an American artist, on a brief assignment to Chennai with her husband.

Marina's works exhibit an organic quality of the world known and unknown.

Known since the imagery has a strong affinity to our environment since the forms allow one to conjure up shapes and images that relate either to earth or oceans or trees or sky. Unknown since they evoke emotions and memories of the submerged subconscious potent reality of dreams and we attempt to locate them in our physical environment taking on the familiar quality of life of the terrestrial and aquatic world.

Her distinct abstract compositions convey energetic feel in the gestural swirls of her forms. An alien quality manifests itself in her paintings and the viewer is left with a sensation that s/he is transported to another planet.

Though the imagery is endemic, her colours have vibrancy and this accounts for her experiences in Shangai and Chennai. Since the works have been produced in the last one year when she moved from China to India, Marina brings her experiences of the two Asian cities. The predominant vertical forms in some of her paintings reflect the high rise structures of Shangai while the Indian colours particularly the shades of yellows and verdant greens predominate as manifest Chennai experiences.

Though most of her works are executed in oils/acrylics on canvas/board she has an amazing range of small format paintings namely miniatures of the endemic world on wood. These have been rendered meticulously with carefully articulated forms that have an endearing quality.

What inspired Marina to work on this minuscule scale was an old, dilapidated door that stirred her creative imagination to strip away the peeling plywood into small pieces and, after preparing it to receive the paint, she journeyed through delicate shapes and biomorphic forms to evolve these miniatures.


Modern art in its evolution since mid 19th Century had completely negated authoritative themes such as religious, historical, mythological or allegorical to privilege the empirical experiences or spirited imaginative dimensions to become the main players in artistic formulations. This autonomy was a liberating factor for the artist indulging his creative faculties to shape his vision according to his personal needs or moved by acts of atrocities on humanity to communicate his feelings visually. And art as it positions itself in the postmodern world has opened up unlimited vistas. Marina's painting from this perspective gives us dimensions of structured scientific inner reality.

Says the artist, "My works transforms scientific images by imbuing them with character, motion and tension. I enjoy exploring the translation of images from one visual format to another and the contextual changes that accompany it."

Marina's artistic repertoire includes the influence of the modern masters and in her creative quest she has arrived with these scientific imageries that are as challenging as they are visually absorbing.

The exhibition titled Microscape is on at Forum Art Gallery till December 20, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Sundays.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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