Artist Statement - 2011
Like a makeshift tent that eventually becomes dismantled under the duress of weather or time, or a child's bedroom that physically evolves as she/he matures, history and identity exist in transition. They exist in spaces we construct and deconstruct in order to write and re-write the individual and collective stories that connect us. My work explores the shifting, changing and constantly evolving negotiation of these spaces in relation to individual and cultural identities and histories. From depictions of vast geographic locations and notions of national identity to the intimate rooms of a house under construction, my work seeks to map each place as a fluid site of exchange. As pieces of the visual landscape, such locations are carved out and reconfigured until that landscape's story is no longer its own, but that of its relationship to its inhabitants.
My work examines hurricanes and their paths as means by which to interpret cultures from the Caribbean, Gulf Basin and US South. As areas affected by similar storm systems, these regions may resultantly share environmental, historical and cultural determinants, raising the question: What patterns emerge when we examine a broader region across national or linguistic borders? While such an approach may be applied to multiple sites, my work focuses on the island of Puerto Rico, where I was born and spent most of my childhood. This site provides an entry point from which to consider similarly affected regions and populations in the US and the fluid boundaries between these geographical areas.
Responding to the constantly shifting landscape and architecture of the island of Puerto Rico, my work depicts alternative realities, invented and inspired by the cycles of deconstruction and reconstruction produced by storms and hurricanes and affecting coastal regions. My work is a response to the changing landscapes of the area, suggesting the storm’s power to alter not just the physical terrain, but also individual psyches and the broader cultures of such affected regions.
Artist Bio / CV
Mario Marzan constructs delicate and ambiguous compositions as personal topographies. Based on scattered memories, his drawings and small sculptures suggest a narrative, taking place in a landscape tormented between order and disorder. Through references to the hurricanes that often plague islands and shape the architecture and landscape, Marzan’s work explores ideas of deconstruction and reconstruction.
Mario Marzan was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his MFA at Carnegie Mellon and BFA from Bowling Green State University.