The Exploration of Legacy and Ideas | Marianne Nix

by Rise Art | London

Legacy and exchange of ideas feature in Marianne Nix’s work. The beauty of nature that we find both near and far and the changes happening to it over time. Combining photography, digital tools, traditional printmaking and oil paint glazes and impasto, Nix mixes it up in her paintings and prints which are built up in layers by adding and removing.

Nix studied fashion design, and digital media at MA level and worked as a Documentary film director. She was brought up in the UK and Netherlands and spent three years in Japan and has traveled widely. Focussing entirely on her art since 2003 she is now working from her London studio producing layered and multimedia works that have sold internationally. Discover more about Marianne below.

1. When did you realise you wanted to become an artist?

I come from a family of creative people. I have artists on the dutch side of my family going back to the 19th century. My dutch aunt is an artist and I would stay with her as a child in her farmhouse/studio and be shown how to make things. I started to win prizes when at primary school and was encouraged by teachers. I spent a week in an artist’s studio having my portrait painted when I was 11 and decided that an artist’s life was for me. I love the smell of artist materials and the stillness of working intensely on creating something new.

2. What inspires your art?

My work explores legacy and ideas; the thought that often successful innovations are the ones which take ideas and find new ways to add to them. Innovation can come from using new tools or combining old ideas or tools with new. It is for this reason that I look at some of the great minds of the past and the exchange of their ideas and explore the use of old and new art-making tools.

3. Ideas of legacy & exchange feature in your work, can you explain this a little more to us?

The combining of physical, analogue and digital media interests me and reflects physically the ideas behind my work. I use the internet, photography, scanner and digital tools, and combine them using traditional techniques such as photograms, cyanotype, etching, aquatint, printmaking and traditional oil glazes on paper and canvas. My work explores the transition from ideas to pixels and then physical materials, and potentially back to digital.

4. Can you tell us about your process? 

I started printmaking by using old techniques such as etching and aquatint. Part of the process of etching is to create an image in acid-resisting oil. This can be done in a number of ways including using a photocopy to transfer an image in oil-based ink onto the metal plate. I could see that this technique could be applied to oil painting.

5. You work with both old & new techniques, how did you develop this unique technique? 

Traditionally there are several ways of taking a small sketch and transferring it to a larger wall or canvas before painting. This can be done by drawing a grid and painstakingly copying the drawing into each enlarged square of the grid. Some artists use a photographic projector to see the small image on a larger canvas and draw the enlarged image with a pencil or paint. With frescos or murals, the drawing can be transferred using pinpricks through the paper. I could see that the photocopy method I used for my etching could be used to transfer to oil paintings and be much quicker and create a unique texture to work on. I have developed this method over time; sanding and layering and painting in oil glazes over the top. In this way I can use photographs I have manipulated with digital tools on my computer and convert them to traditional materials and bring them into the physical world. I am melding the old with the new.

I am interested in the transition from handwritten to digital and am considering whether at some point we will no longer know how to write. Handwriting gives a clue to the personality of the writer and can be a line or drawing of the soul.

6. What are your ambitions for 2019?

I will be exhibiting with the artist-led i-contemporary gallery at The Affordable Art Fair Battersea 17-20th October and am building a body of work for that. I recently finished a two-panel commission based on an existing work that was already sold. The new piece was much bigger and it was an exciting challenge to work closely with an architect, art advisor and collector to make sure everyone was happy with the work. I hope to work on more projects like this in the near future. I have an exciting and poetic commission to work on from November so 2019 is looking pretty full!