July 2 – August 18, 2021
Roll Up Project is pleased to present sculptures by Kari Marboe. Marboe uses archival research as a basis for making sculptures about the connections and shared histories between people.
The works displayed in the Roll Up Project were initially developed in collaboration with A-B Projects in Los Angeles in 2018, and expanded for the exhibition Duplicating Daniel at Mills College Art Museum in 2020. After learning that a Daniel Rhodes sculpture in the Mills College Art Museum’s permanent collection was missing, Marboe re-created it through a variety of approaches. She studied archival images, written and spoken descriptions, and personal responses to form a new body of work that, rather than being a facsimile of the original, reflected on the ways of representing objects and people who are no longer with us.
Impression and Reflection are displayed in the Harrison Street window. In trying to research Rhodes’s missing artwork, Marboe only had one piece of evidence: a photocopied black and white image of the sculpture. She wondered how to turn a two-dimensional object like a photograph into a sturdy sculpture that held its own space. She created “kickstand” sculptures in response, turning flat ovals into planes that seem to effortlessly hover. With high-shine glazes, they are also reminiscent of vanity mirrors, tilted up and ready to reflect the viewer. Impression 1 and Impression 2 are based on conversations with Andrea and John Gill, who taught alongside Rhodes at Alfred University. They encouraged experimentation, and not being timid about finding your way in ceramics. Impression 2’s linked chains could be seen as a bucket, just pulled from a well and filled to overflowing. In discussing the body of work, Marboe continually refers to the generosity of her interviewees – their candor and unique perspectives all enter the river of information that informs her practice.
Five sculptures from the Reiterate series fill the Third Street windows. They are based on the link between Daniel Rhodes and Minnie Negoro, a lifelong friend he met while working at the Heart Mountain internment camp pottery shop. Marboe’s reverence for this relationship, forged in the dark reality of World War II racism, is reflected in the composition of these sculptures. They could be seen as flowers blossoming atop piled rocks, or totemic representations of mop-headed figures, but either way, they form an association when massed in a group.
With many artworks, the finished object is viewed and analyzed without the vital context of the artist’s life and experiences. However, Marboe’s method of storytelling encourages the viewer to look at a sculpture and consider not only its formal qualities, but the steps the artist took to get there.
About the Artist
Kari Marboe takes on the role of ceramics detective, flattening as many data points as possible around the history of people, objects, and experiences in order to create new narratives that intertwine with our present moment. She presents her work in the form of ceramic sculptures, clay screenprinted onto watercolor paper, archival images, accidentally stolen keys, and other site-specific elements. Marboe earned her BFA from California College of the Arts in 2008 and then her MFA from UC Berkeley in 2012. She has exhibited work at the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art, CA, Mills College Art Museum, CA, A-B Projects (Nicole Seisler), CA, 500 Capp Street/Southern Exposure, CA, Berkeley Art Center, CA, Museum of Craft and Design, CA, Wave Pool Gallery, OH, Museum of Northern California Art, CA, Jacksonville University, FL, and the Waffle Shop Billboard, PA. She has also participated in residencies at Greenwich House Pottery, NY, Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, ME, Mutual Stores, CA, and Elsewhere Museum, NC. Marboe lives in the Bay Area and is currently an Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts.
Learn more about Kari Marboe’s work at karimarboe.com.