2023 Grad Show

Diane Marshall

AUArts Grad Show 2021-08 IMG_4898 (2)


My interdisciplinary studio practice relies on exploration, research, and a multi-faceted approach, with curiosity as its driving force. I probe the potential of fibre products, as well as thrifted, found, and domestic objects, as art materials. Investigations of my materials lead to discoveries of their properties and propensities, influencing my process and results. Inviting ambiguity through abstraction inspires me to push my creative pursuits beyond my literal leanings. Concepts communicated in my work often relate to transformation or to the environment.

Co-creation Recreation

The six sculptural components of this work emerged as a result of partnering with my materials in playful explorations of their unique qualities and inclinations. I also investigated possibilities for transforming them beyond their expected contexts and their typical limitations and purposes. Using actions that pertain to repetitive domestic labor, I revamped my materials - mundane domestic objects and discards - into unexpected sculptural forms. This installation suggests a relationship between labor and play. Relevant concepts include:
effects of gravity
labor’s invisibility
absence and presence
transcendence of materials
accumulation and aggregation

Cellular Ensemble

Transforming window shades into a woman’s outfit conveys concepts beyond upcycling, refashioning, and 'trashion.' This work draws on similarities between clothing fashions and window fashions, with regards to their manufacturing, marketing, and purpose. Technology and style trends in both industries impact consumers’ options in design, composition, materials, and longevity. Apparel and window coverings both offer protection and insulation from natural elements, and privacy from public view. The outfit’s stiff, awkward, and impractical nature points to the absurdity of some haute couture and restrictive clothing designs throughout history. The pleated fan-shaped elements reference historical meanings and purposes of hand-held folded fans.


This artwork alludes to the fairy tale damsel who was rescued from a tower prison by lowering her long locks for a prince to climb. However, the maiden in “Choice” reflects a more contemporary view-point and value system – by holding up her long locks as a symbol of personal power, she indicates her autonomy and her ability to make her own choices. While her 'no' response is indicated by withholding her hair, the option of saying 'yes' is implied by the existence of knots to assist a visitor’s climb. The other end of the fabric flows behind the canvas 'window' and falls beneath it, revealing a castle tower whose bottom crenellated edge reinforces the upside-down perspective of this narrative artwork.


For this work, I used assorted techniques on textile remnants and employed several processes to integrate texture, relief, and 3D form. Creative possibilities were discovered through material explorations. Systematic planning helped determine suitable techniques. A tactile approach involved expressive actions to alter some materials. Flexibility allowed freedom to follow tangents. Playing with the manipulated textiles caused columnar forms to emerge and become individuals possessing distinguishing human traits - folds, wrinkles, and variety in size and ‘skin’ color. Together, they comprise a community celebrating individuality, with abstraction disguising their humanness.


The game of chess interests me as a conceptual representation of various aspects of life. Its symbolic pieces possess distinct individual narratives; as a group, they present their combined story. "Conflicted" is comprised of a cast of the game’s six characters, their dimensions proportionate to those of standardized game pieces. Materials were chosen and manipulated to convey their individuality and roles, and to subtly reference the chessboard’s grid pattern. Interpretation of this work depends on whether its symbolism is applied to history, politics, society, individuals, or thought patterns.


The textiles utilized in this abstracted coiled sculpture include an outdated and discarded ACAD banner, found after the school’s status change from college to university. Its title not only relates to AUArts' emergence from ACAD, but also describes the sculpture's appearance and my emergence as an artist. Several installation variations are possible for this work, as it is very flexible and can be configured in numerous ways, whether set on a plinth, hung on a wall, or suspended from a ceiling.

Order From Chaos

Upon finding a bagful of long linen strips in the Fibre Dept’s take-away bin, I was inspired to engage this deconstructed textile in a new work. After many hours of untangling 500 yards of linen strips, I rolled them into balls which I attached to a support hung from an 11’ ceiling. Employing gravity and embracing unpredictability, I let them fall. A tall pillar emerged, with the excess linen lengths re-tangled at its base, a partial return to its original chaotic state. Installing the work from other heights alters its appearance and effect.


“Root-Bound” alludes to houseplant roots running out of growing space, and attempting to escape from the confines of a plant pot. It depicts craft materials ‘escaping’ their limitations and venturing beyond their traditional roles and forms. Metaphorically, it represents my journey out of my comfort zone to expand the parameters and possibilities of my studio practice. Uncertainty, risk, and unpredictability were inherent in integrating possibly discordant elements not previously partnered in my practice: wet-felting and basketry coiling. For congruency with the potted plant theme, “Root-Bound” was painted with analogous plant-hued ‘water’ colors and anchored with partially concealed ‘drainage’ stones.

Sculpted Twine" and "Fount Fibre

These sculptural fibre works involved investigations to achieve 3D form with only two materials. I braided, twisted, wound, and otherwise manipulated cotton seine twine into ten sculptural forms using glue (and plastic casts). The resulting forms can be exhibited as a group of ten sculptures (“Sculpted Twine”) or stacked as a single vertical sculpture (“Fount Fibre”).

Woodland Throne

This functional chair was constructed entirely from cardboard, including its internal supports. It is intended to encourage viewers to consider the transitory and vulnerable nature of furniture constructed with manmade materials, in contrast to the permanence and durability of natural materials, like the wood from which this cardboard was produced. Its title and image location may seem to imply its suitability for the outdoors. However, as a paper artwork, it ‘weathers’ best inside of a building.

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