Marissa Lee Benedict

Marissa Lee Benedict is a sculptor, writer, researcher, maker and all-around amateur who is deeply curious about the world. Born and raised in Southern Californian, she currently lives, works and conducts playful experiments in Chicago, IL. She is participating in the ACRE residency this summer and this fall/winter Make Space will follow up with Marissa to discuss her residency experience.

She completed her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, and recently received her MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she currently teaches a new undergraduate course in the Sculpture Department titled “Art on Location: Materials Lab”. She has participated in exhibitions at the LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore; the Arsenal Center for the Arts, MA; and at Columbia College, the Sullivan Galleries, Zhou B Center, Defibrillator, Heaven Gallery and the HATCH Projects gallery space in Chicago. She was recently awarded an MFA Fellowship from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and will have her first major solo exhibition as part of the threewallsSOLO program in May 2013 at threwalls (Chicago, IL). In addition to her individual practice, she maintains a number of collaborative partnerships, including the collaborative (GRAFT), co-founded with fellow Southern Californian artist Luis Palacios. (GRAFT)’s ongoing collaborative endeavors can be found at her website and at

“As someone profoundly curious about the way our world works – from the simple clarity of micro interactions to the infinite complexity of macro intra-actions 1 – my practice is deeply rooted in research and experimentation. I see a pedagogical element to my work related to the collection and dissemination of knowledge. In this vein, I am interested in considering the propositional nature of an interdisciplinary practice as a way to bring to foreground the evolving, dialogical work rather then the creation of a static statement or object.

I am intrigued by processes which reinvest material with agency; processes which provide equal allowance for planned human action and uncontrollable biological, chemical and physical reaction. Whether communicating via sculpture, installation, performance, video or the written word – or a hybridization thereof – I seek to articulate Jane Bennett’s philosophy of “vibrant matter” 2. Bennett’s core argument – that the material world has as much vitality as the human – forces us towards a physical and intellectual understanding of the deep interconnectivity that defines our universe.

As I build upon my practice year after year, I feel each new text I read, discussion I have, place I live or material I get my hands on adds a new composite layer to the strata composing my body of work; a generative process of felting material and meaning in a non-linear but interlocked way. Through this ongoing process of “felting”, I hope to build a growing web of evocative connections between natural systems, scientific processes, art historical trajectory and personal experience.”

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