One of the most beautiful and distinctive aspects of Boston’s paintings is her use of line, often described as Twombly-esque (a reference to Cy Twombly, an important American artist whose abstract works blur the line between drawing and painting). Boston’s line is delicate and scribbled, not unlike loosely tangled cord, and often appears to define the edges of odd, organic shapes or trace the erratic courses of rogue particles or projectiles. Others suggest plant tendrils or stems. These float on top of or emerge from milky, translucent veils or atmospheres of color whose appearance (think of Turner’s or Monet’s foggy or hazy landscapes) provides a perfect counterpoint to the lines. The overall effect of Boston’s works is pleasing without being superficial. Her subtlest paintings are Zen-like and meditative.
Décor & StyleJune, 2008By Michele Esposito
The first thing you notice when studying a Marsha Boston painting is the colors – splashes of watercolor in soft sage, light salmon, pastel ochre interspersed with a vivid violet or an intense indigo blue or bold clusters of carmine – layered splashes that have the appearance of uncontrolled randomness, similar to Helen Frankenthaler’s color-field paintings. These marvelous colors fill the paper and create the emotion of the piece.
Next one notices the lines -- crisp, wispy, sensuous ones interspersed with hazy, strong, concentrated lines of black ink that belie the softness and transparency of the underlying washes. As you continue to study the painting, soaking in the emotions fueled by its palette, you turn your gaze to the ink markings and suddenly realize you are looking at a leaf, a stem, a flower petal, a stamen – an abstract memory of some part or many parts of a plant. The lines give movement and energy to the plants, making them dance on the paper. You can feel the movement of a breeze, the flower raising its head to the sun, the wind bending the stem, the roots digging into and anchoring themselves in the earth. Her colors represent the invisible healing qualities or energy of the plant, the lines the form, the repetition of line the motion.
Arts & CultureLa Jolla LightMay 30, 2007By Travis Hunter
Marsha Boston is among the featured artists of "New Works, New Forms: Celebrating Five Female Artists," an exhibition of recent abstract and representational works currently on display at Art Expressions Gallery in Rose Canyon. The other featured artists include Gisela Colon, Liz Jardine, Sierra Jolie and Leigh Rivers.
Boston, an Escondido resident who earned her master's degree in fine arts from UCSD in 1983, specializes in botanical scenes, but not your usual botanicals, according to Art Expressions Gallery owner Patty Smith. "She has done a lot of work to investigate what she is painting," Smith said. "If you listen to the stories about the plants she is painting, it is really fascinating and very well thought out."
Currently Boston is studying the practice of indigenous herbalism, the use of sacred medicinal plants by California indigenous societies and shamans. In recent years, Boston has also done a series focusing on genetically modified food crops. She said her work has evolved out of her concern over the uncertain realities of genetic engineering and the accelerated speed of human dominion over nature, as well as her reverence for the miraculous design of plants.
Boston has found that watercolor is an ideal medium to express what she calls the invisible qualities of plants. "In terms of the color, I'm trying to establish the relationship the plant has with its environment," she said. "Watercolor works very beautifully because it’s transparent nature creates a sense of the invisible. Plants are pretty amazing in terms of knowing what is needed in a particular environment and supplying the nutrients for other plants to survive. It's an intricate web and it is very exciting to learn how powerful plants can be." She also believes her fascination with nature is shared by fewer people today. "Our love of plants and other life forms is created when we are young. We need to spend time in natural environments in order to establish a bond," she said. With so many people living in urban areas today it is more difficult to make that important connection."