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Carved Stone and Video 2012


Over the course of my career I have worked in drawing, sculpture, and installation. My influences are diverse and include the filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, the renaissance master Michelangelo Buonaroti, and the first generation of video and performance artists such as Bill Viola and Carolee Schneemann. Aesthetically, my work draws equally from the vocabulary of the decorative arts and conceptual art, freely combining linguistic interpretation with the visually ornate.

While these influences are always present, they are rarely at the forefront of my mind when I am creating work. Most often, I begin with my own experiences. I fill sketchbooks with images, which later reassert themselves in more detailed illuminations of ideas. A habit of playing around with materials led me to combining organza, salt, video, and carved stone in my sculptures. That and an experience that changed the way I approach my work.

One day, I was cleaning out the closet and, I came across a suitcase. When I opened it I felt a shock. I had forgotten that I kept some things belonging to my partner, who had died several years before. The suitcase unleashed a powerful set of memories, and emotions that made me realize the mind and body are not separate-- that Descartes really had it all wrong. Maybe he didn’t do much crying. That day I cried so hard it hurt. I ended up feeling pretty dehydrated and laughing at how absurd it was that an object could elicit such a reaction. Later, I carved a life size suitcase from a 900 pound boulder of alabaster titled “Pneuma” which signifies “wind, breath, spirit” because the suitcase literally resuscitated my memory.

In a more recent work called "Memoir", a woman appears to be writing from inside of a large alabaster book. As she scrawls across the page her hand feels so close we can almost touch it--as if she literally exists on the other side of the page. The origination of the idea for this piece was twofold. It began with needing to write and not being able to. I was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s essay A Room of One’s Own. I thought if I filmed myself writing; I would have to put words on the page. Though I didn’t have a room I could create an imaginary space and real time for writing. Around this same time, I happened to visit Scotland, and learned of the work of Phoebe Anna Traquair; I visited the National Library in Edinburgh and held in my hands a hand bound book, which she made in the form of an illuminated manuscript of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese beautifully illustrated on vellum with gold and colorful pigments and inks. The experience of connecting through time to these two women artists via the intimate contact with this object fueled the idea of Memoir which connected the power of the act of writing with the power of the act of reading heightening both the intimacy and remoteness of these forms of connection. I often find myself inspired by women artists and writers especially of the 19th century.

I have come to think of the hand made object and image as portals through which we may access the world of the metaphysical, the spiritual, or the sublime as well as the world of the psychological, the internal and personal. Through tactile history and our interaction with objects we end up on the other side in a transcendent space. They are magical tools for understanding the human condition.





1997 MFA, Sculpture and Extended Media, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
1994 BFA, Sculpture, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia


2012 Career Opportunity Grants Oregon Arts Commission & The Ford Family Foundation, Oregon
2010 Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, Portland, Oregon
2009,05 Regional Arts and Culture Council Professional Development Grant, Portland, Oregon
2006 Residency Berllanderi Sculpture Workshop, Wales, UK
2005 First Prize, Yeck National Young Sculptors Competition, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
1997 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship, Richmond, Virginia
1996 The Ruth Chenven Grant for Visual Artists, New York, NY
1995 Merit Award, Cleome Wadsworth/Olga Hirshorn Sculpture Competition, Washington DC


2012 Smokescreen, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, New York
2008 Ephemera: Recent Work in Video and Stone, A.I.R. Gallery, New York
2007 Mnemosyne's Mnemonic, Laura Russo Gallery, Portland, Oregon
2006 Cipher, The Art Shop, Abergavenny Wales, UK
2004 Lacing Atropos, Blackfish Gallery, Portland, Oregon
2003 Merche's Pieta, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, Portland, Oregon
Lacing Atropos, Contemporary Crafts Museum and Gallery, Portland, Oregon
1998 Spire, The Material World Exhibition SPACES, Cleveland, Ohio
1997 The Comfort Food, Anderson Gallery, Richmond, Virginia


2012 Portland 2012: A Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Prudence Roberts, sponsored by Disjecta, The Art Gym, Portland,OR traveling to The Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, Oregon with catalog
Celebrating Kindred Spirits & Strange Bedfellows, curated by Catherine Morris A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY with catalog
2011 Woollahra, Small Sculpture Prize, Woollahra Council Chambers, Double Bay, Sydney, Australia
A woman's work is never done, AIR Gallery NY. Brooklyn
2010 I can’t get you out of my mind, curated by Hiro Sakaguchi, Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
…and sweeps me away, curated by Barbara O’Brien, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Pop Up Exhibition, Dumbo Art Center, Brooklyn New York
2009 Your Documents Please, Galerie Kurt im Hirsch, Berlin, Germany; Galeria Z Bratislava, Slovakia; Galeria Ajolote Arte Contemporaneo, Guadalajara, Mexico, Museum of Arts and Crafts, Itami, Japan, ZAIM Project & Galerie Paris, Yokohama Japan, 2B Galeria Budapest, Hungary
Contemporary Humanism, curated by Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, A.I.R. Gallery, New York
2008 Narrations, Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, New York
2008 Structured Incidents, curated by Charlotta Kotik, A.I.R. Gallery, New York
2007 Presence of Light, Oriel Canfas Gallery, Cardiff, UK
Drawnwork: Facets of Myth and Memory, Littman Gallery, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon catalog essay Richard Torcia
The London Art Fair, Panter and Hall Gallery, London, UK
Picture Journal Project Woodmere Art Museum, Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania.
Made Out of the Ordinary, A.I.R. Gallery, New York
2006 Third International Alabaster Symposium and Exhibition, Palazzo Pretorio, Volterra, Italy with catalog
Drawing Improvisation, Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn, Estonia with catalog
Forty Artists, Forty Drawings, The Drawing Gallery London, UK


“Past Perfect”, Edith Newhall, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, June 13, 2010
“Marie Sivak, Ephemera”, The Brooklyn Museum of Art Blog, April 2008
“Narrations at Nancy Margolis Gallery”, The New York Sun Monday, February 13, 2008
"Marie Sivak at Blackfish Gallery", Lois Allan. Artweek, April, 2004. review
“"The Craft of Construction", D.K.Row, The Oregonian, A&E section Friday, August 22, 2003. review
“Material World”, Douglas Max Utter, The New Art Examiner, June 1998.review


Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Miami University, Oxford Ohio
Municipality of Volterra, Italy