Shalya Marsh

Artist Statement

In my work I strive to elicit a visual exploration of form and structure. Initial inspections lead to discoveries as the layering creates the opportunity to reveal what is hidden or induces frustration at not being able to access every aspect of the work. Faint impressions created by the physical impact of one surface on another heighten feelings of distance and tension. Physical manifestations of cast shadows serve to give substance to both objects and their voids but also raise questions as to what is real and what is not. Multiples and abstraction aid in reflecting or obfuscating what is seen, creating interactions that mimic our own inner and interpersonal relationships, interactions that are filled with tension and complexity.

My current work explores ideas of connection through representations of knots and tangles. While knots can signify protection and strength, tangles allude to anxiety. I rely heavily on format and structure as a means of conveying content. Repetition and layering of elements suggest the complexity of relationships. The work is composed of a series of tied knots or tangles, single knot forms in multiple variations, or a combination of multiple elements in one piece. Shadows and voids have the ability to indicate the presence of a form or its absence, and represent distance and longing. Formal devices such as color and surface serve to visually pull elements together or set them apart. The pairing of vinyl and ceramic elements contrast permanence and impermanence. These materials fix the forms at a specific moment where the knot or tangle can no longer be tightened or untied.

-- Shalya Marsh


Shalya Marsh received a BFA in ceramics from SUNY New Paltz in 1999 and an MFA from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 2016. She is currently the Gallery Manager for the Laura and Paul Mesaros Galleries at West Virginia University. She has exhibited extensively, taught in the community, and participated in a number of residencies.

In addition to a rich exhibition record, Marsh has augmented her studio practice through participation in workshops and residencies, including the Young Artist in Residence at Millersville University, a Kiln God Residency at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, and the Lormina Salter Fellowship at the Baltimore Clayworks.

Marsh has been teaching in the community since 2001, developing curriculum and implementing hands-on arts programs for the Print Center, the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, and the Lancaster Creative Factory. For four years, Marsh volunteered as the coordinator for the Lancaster Museum of Art’s outreach program, developing exhibit-specific programing for underserved communities. Her work experience includes six years running a small nonprofit arts organization that sponsored a citywide exhibition of installations in vacant storefront windows throughout Lancaster, PA.