Work

TESTIMONIALS

Hypnotic expanses of color, otherworldly illustrations, sculptural objects that defy classification. Carbee’s vision displays a Mediterranean sensuality together with a quirky sensibility. The New-England-born artist’s transatlantic education and individualistic irreverence results in a body of work that is irresistibly engaging. Embracing both figurative and abstract, collage and sculptural, examples of work on display include objects as diverse as handcrafted jewelry, a paper placemat created for Burger King, and paintings made in the ocean surf. With an artistic lineage that can be traced back to Surrealism, Carbee’s work resists classification, inhabiting a unique space that alchemizes the familiar into the visionary and fantastic. – Frederick Kalil, curator, Pardon My French: The Art of Marshall Carbee, Tufts University

​Marshall’s black line seems to go awry here, right there, always flowing – through starts and stops – in inky insights. It oozes through oceans and landscapes of strife, love, conflict, action, stillness and hilarity. Is that a friendly bunny with funny eyes? Then why does it have a gun pointing at me in its paw? Marshall’s mind connects to a visual treasure trove, reconnoiters from Rorschach blots to classical art through the collapse of civilization. And yet somehow finds transcendence in a giggle. – John Grady

Nothing escapes Marshall’s artistic snare. I mean nothing, including human encounters, which arguably mark his greatest creations with “the otherness” in life. To be fortunate enough to encounter Carbee is to grasp that there is no such thing as separation. Life is all one experience. Carbee’s shifts in his work are the mark of a genius artist who restlessly responds to the changing world around him. Nothing is static, and yet change is a constant. His storm paintings are not only eco-friendly but actively engage nature’s forces. His new earth-based works provoke the viewer to connect with the elemental, while delivering the shock of our constructed separation from nature.  Carbee’s work speaks to some of the most important issues of our time. Carbee is a responsible painter; he has developed his own sustainable oil painting process. He developed the first sustainable soy-based gesso in 2008. He makes his own plant-based paints with earth pigments, uses organic oils, organic cotton/hemp canvas, rain water, ocean water. This physical manifestation of his constructive dialogue between the artist and his workplace has a profound effect on people; it functions on many different levels. Carbee says, “People think they are looking at my paintings, but my paintings are looking at them.” His work is an educational opportunity for those who perceive it and understand it. – Paula Oakly

The trajectory of Marshall Carbee’s artistic arc seems at first glance to have been a process of searching, but as it becomes realized, the inevitability and trueness of its aim becomes clear in hindsight. His early works were tremendously detailed, work intensive, informed by surrealism, with sense of wonder combined with technical excellence that permitted him to create worlds and inhabit them exclusively. An enhanced focus on media would influence the last ten years of his work in a way that nobody predicted. Carbee’s heartbreak at witnessing the gradual destruction of the environment that he respects and loves, both as subject matter and as a native New Englander caused him, both as a power of example and as a practical matter of personal responsibility, to seek out materials and processes that would have as little environmental impact as possible. His work began to rely on organic cotton/ hemp canvasses, a soy-based gesso he developed, low impact earth pigments, organic oils from petroleum-free sources, frames from naturally downed wood, reject rags from a local custom dye house and even workspace environments whose carbon footprints were as small as they could possibly be. He abandoned his studio and works outdoors. Carbee’s most recent step in handling his visual aesthetic over to nature has been to allow nature to do the painting, and for him to merely manage the process. If art is collaboration between man and nature, then less involved man is in that process, the more magnificent the result. Carbee’s weathered art is a reflection of that concept. The earth, wind and the water are the forces that move the paint around on his canvases. The artist’s hand merely guides the infinite subtleties of a summer shower and the wind’s infinitely shifting vectors. – Chris Elliott