Maria Marshall’s photographs and hypnotic large-scale video projections are inspired by a child-like world that is often clouded with threat and risk, its ambiguity creating a mixture of unease and fascination in spectators. Digital technology allows her to create disturbing images such as a video portrait of her young son smoking and a piece in which Marshall’s skin literally crawls.
Maria Marshall uses a wide range of filmic techniques and digital special effects to create a psychological space for the continuing exploration of her roles as both mother and artist. Maria Marshall has shown widely in the USA & Europe but this is her first British solo show.
Her recent work, "When I grow up, I want to be a Cooker", a looped video of her two-year old son apparently smoking a cigarette, received critical acclaim when first shown in New York and subsequently in Europe. This disturbing image achieved through precise editing, the repetition of sequences and the looping of the whole, borders on the mesmeric. Yet this formal seduction merely highlights the moral ambiguities of the work. Through subtle use of digital techniques Marshall subverts the camera movements to create moving images that are at once hypnotic and disturbing.
In a more recent work, "When are we there?" the camera slowly winds its way along dimly lit corridors to arrive in a room where Marshall herself stands. As the camera approaches it rises up her body and before our very eyes, her skin appears to twitch as if something is moving underneath the surface of the skin. Indentations appear on her breasts, and the skin on her exposed throat creases, as if caressed by invisible fingers.Using digital editing technology to achieve her special effects, Marshall has created a work that spells out, in frighteningly graphic form, the ideas of myriad feminist writers and theorists.
The new work being produced for this show - "Cyclops" - moves Marshall’s work on a further stage with the use of "The Cyclops", a computerised crane which controls a 35mm camera. The crane is pre-programmed to act out moves on a split screen work. On one side a young child stands alone in an empty room, on the other side the mother of the child stands in a similar lonely and empty space. As the Cyclops moves forwards and backwards the two figures remain motionless, the atmosphere built up by the violent noise of the machine as it moves across the floor and tension created by flickering lights hitting the female figure.