Palm Desert resident Marcy Gregory is an artist who gives scrap wood and recycled cardboard a new life, reducing disparate shapes to an abstract uniformity, where shape and shade are of paramount importance. The artist's assemblage sculpture is especially inspired by the works of Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois, Noah Purifoy, Arnaldo Pomodoro, and Pablo Picasso – among many others. Inspiration truly is everywhere.
Her introduction to the medium of discarded wood began in 1995 at the Palm Springs Art Museum in the adult artists’ workshop taught by the talented artist and teacher Florence Treatman. Since the mid-90s, Ms. Gregory has amassed a seeming forest of wood in her studio, where she can be inspired by a shape or container, and, like movements on a Ouija Board with a planchette, she moves shapes around until a composition emerges.
Also a contemporary realist portraitist, her commissioned paintings and sculptures have been featured in juried art competitions and museums, sold at auction and in galleries, and found in private collections.
Making an assemblage sculpture from found pieces of wood, cardboard, and styrofoam begins with a scrap in my studio catching my eye. Its size doesn't necessarily determine the resulting piece. If it's small, it can be either a little accent on a larger sculpture or an integral part of a small piece.
People ask where I find my collection of scraps, and I tell them it's from walking with my head down and my eyes peeled. No piece is too large or too small for it to be incorporated into my work. The various shapes surround me in my studio. Sometimes it takes years for a particular shape to be used.
I know when a sculpture is done when no other piece can be added. This requires my living with my sculpture for a while and observing it. As any other artist will attest, you just know when it's completed. For me, the process of creating and living with a sculpture takes about three months, and I usually have two works in progress simultaneously.
Each and every time I begin a new sculpture, I wonder if I can ever create a new piece that I'll love as much as its predecessors. I wonder if I'll have the same degree of inspiration from the other found pieces in my studio. To address this phenomenon of doubt, I begin the process of reorganizing my wood, picking up each piece to appreciate and re-familiarize myself with it, and then I'm inspired all over again. One would think that by now I'd realize that my next piece will be as enchanting to me as my last, but I seem to hold the same conversation with myself each time!
It took me a long time to be able to part with my sculptures because they are all unique and so much a part of me, but the joy I derive from having others appreciate their primitive beauty in their own homes has finally enabled me to let them go.