For artists who spend long hours working alone in the studio, the conversations that take place in the hallway with other artists are crucial. For the past 18 months, I’ve been fortunate to share my hallway with Marci MacGuffie, an artist known for her large-scale installations and participatory projects. Last week, MacGuffie invited me into her studio, which is full of mysterious and intriguing objects that reflect her interest in nature. After several years spent making installation and sculpture, she has returned to painting, undertaking a series of delicate studies and large-scale wall pieces informed by her apprehension of the natural phenomena she sees each day on her walk to the studio.
Side-by-side, our studios are over a loading dock that faces the Manhattan Bridge. I like the light in the morning, when the sun obliquely shines against a long array of dusty windows. MacGuffie, who has appreciated the view for several years, pointed out how the bridge’s shadow functions as a kind of sundial on the building across the street. I was impressed and fascinated by this observation. It demonstrated MacGuffie’s Monet-like alertness not only to how things look at a given moment, but also to how they change over different spans of time—an hour, a day, a month, a year.
The inevitability of change is one of the ideas that drives MacGuffie’s work. Things change, time passes, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. She tries to capture that reality in her multi-disciplinary practice. The beautiful, labor-intensive ink, pencil, and watercolor studies and collages that I saw during my visit, like the handmade clocks she crafted in past years, are a product of the passage of time but also a meditation on it.
My neighbors at 117 Grattan Street
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