In MARIN SERIES, eleven photographic film transparencies cast the nature of Marin County as William Shakespeare’s female characters. The series was a collaboration between light artist Melissa Schaeffer and fiber artist John C. Morris, who hand-wrote the exhibit text in calligraphy.
The MARIN SERIES exhibit tour was organized by John C. Morris, and traveled to five Marin County libraries in the span of ten months.
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The exhibit tour started at Belvedere-Tiburon Library, where the series of eleven photographic film transparencies was on view from October 18th to November 17th, 2016. The transparencies were custom framed in Douglas Fir wood (native to Marin County) by local craftsman, Russell Tunder. John utilized a light blue paisley fabric for the exhibit text to evoke the surrounding waters and sky of Marin County. This library is especially significant to the artists, as their grandfather, Charles Auerbach, is one of the original founders.
Eight pieces from MARIN SERIES were then installed at Mill Valley Library and were on view for the month of February in the library’s lower art gallery. The exhibit was part of Mill Valley’s monthly Artwalk tour (the first Tuesday of every month). The art space was adjacent to large windows with views of the surrounding redwoods, and the imagery for one of the pieces, PAULINA, was photographed by Melissa at Old Mill Park, steps from the library. John selected a dark green fabric for the exhibit text to invite in the deep greens of the nature of Marin County. Melissa and John collaborated on the exhibit text “Setting The Stage,” focused on energy, nature, art, and science, and John wrote the exhibit text “At This Stage,” centered on Romanticism, The Enlightenment, and the current political climate.
Next, MARIN SERIES toured to Point Reyes Library and was on view from March 1st to April 27th, 2017. Six pieces from the series were on view in the library’s reading lounge. Melissa wrote “Natural Light,” an original text on the relationship between natural light and her work, and John wrote “By Hand” which centered on the evolution of his handwriting, William Shakespeare, and learning to sew. In addition, John created a timeline entitled “In Time” of William Shakespeare’s plays (those represented by the female characters in the series). John utilized gold and silver fabric for the exhibit text, inspired by the sunlight and moonlight of Point Reyes.
After Point Reyes, MARIN SERIES was installed in Bolinas Library for the entire month of May. Three pieces from the series were on view in the intimate, natural light-filled art space, and John utilized the silver and gold fabric labels for this space as well (given its West Marin location). Melissa interviewed John in advance of the exhibit, which manifested in “Hidden Nature: An Interview.”
The final venue on the exhibit tour is Larkspur Library, where three pieces are installed in the library’s art display case for August 2017. John selected a purple fabric for the labels to evoke the color of larkspur flowers.