Water is physically or metaphorically present throughout my practice. Here, I translate my ongoing experiences of viewing one northern American river through 4 years and 4 seasons into an interrelated video series, using the spiritually significant numbers (108, 99, 59, 36) often associated with the rosary and St. Michael's chaplet, misbaha, and mala. The idea of the use of beads as walking meditation, as an awareness practice in everyday life, is as my daily work of walking and being with particular bodies of water.
This is a Wisconsin river meditation in the form of a chaplet created for a Wisconsin Academy of Arts Letters and Sciences invitational exhibition honouring International Water Day 2015. A single river walked and photographed over the course of 2 years, this chaplet is part of an ongoing video piece of 108 beads chronicling this particular river over 4 seasons and 4 years.
36 Beads | A River Meditation
This is a piece created for an exhibition honouring International Water Day 2015.
b e a d s of 2 0 1 6
This is an overview of work and themes of work.
Beads of 2016 by Marsha McDonald
This was created as a contemplative exposition of my work themes for the Wisconsin Academy of Arts Letters and Sciences, International Water Day 2015.
f l u s h
I am experimenting with “flush” films (GIFS), short moving images of water.
Lit water strikes me as a tongue, a palpable language, with a visible written form.
GIFS offer an insight into the beautiful “script of insignificance”, a kind of shorthand (not unlike drawing, cursive, calligraphy), that can be read as the common conversation of urban fountains, streams, rivers, canals and ditches.
GIF of sequential stills of the Milwaukee River, Wisconsin, USA, 2015.
f u n n e l
Tamagawa fountain, summer, Japan 2015.
s l u r
Sakaigawa June rains
Sakaigawa. dry June, 2017
Sakaigawa June rains
North American urban river, Wisconsin, early melt, wind, silt. 2017
Sakaigawa, Machida, 2017
f l u e
Mukogaokayuen Station, Nikaryo yosui, Japan 2016.
Tama River, spillage, West Tokyo, 2016.
s h o d o
Neighborhood drainage canal, near small modest family dry cleaning business, West Tokyo, autumn, 2016
n i k a r y o y o s u i
Kanagawa, Japan. 2016
( n o )
GIF of the Nikaryo yosui canal, near Noborito, Japan 2016.
Tormenta de drenaje Segovia, España 2017
s t u t t e r
Ishi-Nikuta, canal, autumn overflow, Japan 2016.
l i s p
Tama River, silt, evening, Japan 2016.
Sakaigawa, shallow water, wind, July 2017
s h i m
Nikaryo yosui (Noborito) 2016
Drenaje en la ciudad de Segovia, España 2017
Crepúsculo en la playa cerca de Santa Pola, España 2017
d i a t o n i c
Nikaryo yosui canal, near boys calling to one another, school evening, 2016
Rio cerca la ciudad de Segovia, España 2017
Ondagawa, low level street lamp, bats, West Tokyo, Japan 2016.
night path along the Sakaigawa, after downpour, 2016.
fountain, cold spring, Machida City, Japan
Northern American river, near fish leaping, April 2017
f l u x
Noborito, Japan. 2016
canal overflow, Kanagawa, Japan 2016
first shivered (thunder)
autumn night rainstorm, Kanagawa canal, Japan 2016
s l i d
cool spell, Milwaukee River, Wisconsin, USA 2017
along the Nikaryo yosui canal 2016
Digitally unaltered images of night light upon and in the Sakai, Onda, and Tama rivers, the Nikaryo Yosui Canal, and neighborhood drainage ditches in Tokyo, Japan. These are urban waters, enclosed, contained, yet for me an expansive and expressive field of movement at night. Since 2015, I have lived next to these waters for some months each year, walking along them. They are ordinary, and such ordinary places deserve attention. They can teach us about looking, liveliness and the spirited movement of things that surround us.
Night fluid, moon penumbras, deep winter, north, ice inside water, wind inside ice.
n i g h t l i g h t
Sakaigawa low water, dry summer, urban darkness. Filmed over three months, midsummer, Kanagawa Japan 2017
e l e m e n t s o f
This is an ongoing documenting of stones and worn objects - found in fields, streams, rivers, seas, on footpaths and in parking lots, from places on 3 continents. These are the discarded, the walked upon, the unnoticed that surround us.
2016 digital photograph 13 x 19 in (33.02 x 48.26 cms)
2014 digital photograph 13 x 19 in (33.02 x 48.26 cms)
Darby Creek Glass
2013 digital photograph 13 x 19 in (33.02 x 48.26 cms)
s t e l a
This is a film done for a Ninebark Press 2015 book trailer for novelist/ poet Anca Cristofovici. Music composed by Tyler Marino. Video and book image by Marsha McDonald. Text by the author and Ninebark Press.
Sea Amulets created for the Venice Vending Machine ED V, 58th Venice Biennale 2017. These are 2 6 x 2 cms artist multiples, containing (1) adventurine and turquoise chips, small shell, hardened sand (Sagami Bay, Japan), a copper gilded false indigo pod, a copper gilded origami canoe, wrapped in a cyanotype upon which the Ave Maria is written in Seychellois Creole (Seselwa) and (2) adventurine and turquoise chips, timeworn shell remnant, a copper gilded false indigo pod, a copper gilded origami canoe, wrapped in a cyanotype upon which the Ave Maria is written in Seychellois Creole (Seselwa)
The artist hopes that these amulets protect what inspires and sustains the imagination of those who live near water.
r e f u g e
Created for the Venice Vending Machine ED. III, installed at the 56th Venice Biennale, this multiple addresses the 2015 summer crisis crossings on the Mediterranean sea. The number 1,867 is the United Nations Refugee Council's death count for Mediterranean boat crossings, January through June 2015.
100 small gold leaf boats, with bronze ribs, found buried inside a large clay pot in Denmark. Subiya, Pesse, Noyen-sur-Seine, Dufuna. The relic journeys of life and death repeat themselves. This work is comprised of 1000 copper leaf and painted 8 inch suspended origami canoes. It was begun while my husband was ill and ended after his death. Moments aware, like beads in prayer, become a solitary practice. Folding fragile objects of passage remade and recorded a remnant of a personal voyage. It is an all too human journey, an inevitable watery event.
Installed for a 2015 invitational exhibition honouring 2015 International Water Day.
I have begun a new series of paintings, waterfalls, inspired by night water, Japanese mended textiles, and spiritual numbers.
Other recent paintings are of waterfalls, often intimate in scale, and rapids found in northern American winter rivers.
My images are multiple, split or paneled gestures, segments of a whole, episodic. I think and feel through real site and imagined water/landscape numeration, an over and again, a "though" and "perhaps" conversation with specific watery places.
The cycle of the hours at Studio Kura begin and end with an often predictable but, given the challenges of rural life, not monotonous regularity. Morning, midday, and evening, rising or retiring, I wash, cook, and clean. Like the households around me, it is my ever-present routine. Three simple verbs - cook, wash, and clean - reveal much about the sacred and mundane in everyday life.
In this installation: on the left, water dripping dry (applied daily to left paper and bamboo sculpture), charcoal, sea salvaged wood and bamboo, folded paper, hemp twine, printed flag, cyanotypes of local deceased woman’s household items (family permission), black, pink and white shaman stones, bowls and bench from her garden