Innovator Denise Marika Creates Video Image for Worcester Art Museum's Wall at WAM Series-April 5-June 3

WORCESTER, MASS., MARCH 20, 2001 - The Wall at WAM, an ongoing series of works created specifically for the 67-foot span in the Worcester Art Museum's Renaissance Court, will spotlight the innovative work of video sculptor Denise Marika from April 5 through June 3. Produced by the artist in her Brookline, Mass. studio, the work, which will run continuously during the Museum's hours, will be the first projected-rather than painted-image in The Wall at WAM series. In conjunction with the video's first showing at the Worcester Art Museum, Marika will deliver a talk- free and open to the public-Thursday, April 5 at 5:30 pm.

“This is an exciting event for the Worcester Art Museum and definitely a different kind of project for the WAM series by virtue of its non-static image,” comments Susan Stoops, the Museum's Curator of Contemporary Art. Denise Marika is a leader in the field of video sculpture whose work has been exhibited at such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, MASS MoCA and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. For The Wall at WAM, she uses her signature subject-herself, nude-and in this case, shown only from the back, allowing her to achieve a degree of anonymity and timelessness, to become, in effect, the human body used historically in art in all cultures. Although the video will be created off-site, the performative nature of the narrative will engage museum visitors metaphorically in the process of the artist “at work.” Viewers will see a video image of Marika attempting to build a wall in clay, a slow, labor-intense progress thwarted by the deteriorating material and her own dissatisfaction. The process becomes her metaphor for an exploration of the conceptual, emotional and physical conditions that have characterized-and frustrated-creative endeavors throughout time.

“While the Marika project will be very visible and prominent and the artist's image will be larger than life,” Stoops notes, “it will also embrace the rest of the Courtyard. The coincidence of the video ‘wall’ and Museum's actual terra cotta wall is the basis for the structure of the piece; the poetic yet technically sophisticated convergence of the present and the past defines its content. Marika was inspired by the Museum's ancient ‘Hunt’ mosaic located on the courtyard floor, especially in terms of the hand labor involved, the natural deterioration from which it has been rescued, and how over time artifacts of ancient cultures become clues to our own lives.” Denise Marika is an adjunct faculty member in the 3D Department at the Massachusetts College of Art. Born in New York City in 1955, she received a BA from Pomona College, Claremont, California and a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is represented in Boston by Howard Yezerski Gallery.

On Thursday, May 3 from 6-8 pm, the Museum will hold a reception for Denise Marika and Jennifer Reeves, a painter whose work will be on exhibition in the Contemporary Art Gallery, April 28-August 5.

This project is sponsored by Lightband Communications, Inc. an Internet service provider. Additional support provided by the Artists' Resource Trust, a grantmaking fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Inc., and the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund, and is presented in conjunction with the Boston Cyberarts Festival. Technical support provided by Pagano Media.

Museum Background

Opened to the public in 1898, the Worcester Art Museum is the second largest art museum in New England. Its exceptional 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints and drawings is displayed in 36 galleries and spans 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Roman mosaics to Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Throughout its first century, the Worcester Art Museum proved itself a pioneer: the first American museum to purchase work by Claude Monet (1910) and Paul Gauguin (1921); the first museum to bring a medieval building to America (1927); a sponsor of the first major excavation at Antioch, one of the four great cities of ancient Rome (1932); the first museum to create an Art All-State program for high school artists (1987); the originator of the first exhibition of Dutch master Judith Leyster (1993); and the first museum to focus its contemporary art programs on art of the last 10 years (1998). The Museum's hours are: Wednesday through Sunday, 11am-5pm, and Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission: FREE for members; Non-members: $8 Adults; $6 Seniors and full-time college students with current ID; FREE for youth 17 and under; FREE for everyone Saturday mornings 10am-noon sponsored by The TJX Companies and Massachusetts Electric Company. For more information, call (508) 799-4406 or visit the Museum at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester.