Marsha Nouritza Odabashian
Why Onionskins?
Onionskins, the imagery and materials used in my work may be interpreted in multiple ways. Painting for me is magical and my earliest experiences with painting involved my mother using onionskins to dye Easter Eggs. I was always fascinated that white or brown eggs thrown into a pot and boiled with yellow onionskins would come out bright maroon. I was haunted by the history of the tradition and the ritual. Onions also have a pungent odor, which can be inspiring or off-putting and the residue when dropped on a surface such as paper or canvas creates a miasma from which narratives can emerge.
Onionskins can be flimsy until they are boiled and then they are resilient. Boiled onionskins give the appearance of dry leaves and often elicit a response when the viewer realizes that they are not leaves, but are in fact onionskins.
When I begin the dying process, I bury the canvas or paper in the onionskins or soak it in the watery dye and let it dry. Some of the onionskin falls off when it dries and some of it sticks.  I incorporate imagery into the dried skins and/or residue and vice versa. The onionskins are a means or tool to create imagery and stir imagination.
My series Miasma discovers universes of varying degrees of reality and wonder in the stains of onionskins. First, I boil the onionskins, which disintegrate into solids and liquid colored red, red-orange and maroon. Then I throw, drop, drip and pour the mixture onto canvas, paper and/or compressed cellulose sponge. Each result is unique, a miasma of layered textures, shapes and stains, which I coax, cajole and tease into plants, animals and humans in varying degrees of hybridity, development and completion. Vignettes of characters placed in isolation or in clusters are often disjointed in relationship to history and location. Indefinable landscape/ interior settings merge and contradict one another harboring hints of secret narratives. I exploit size and scale to invoke uncertainty, absurdity and humor.

Bibliography Section Article Bibliography Section Catalog Bibliography Section Web Link PDF icon displayed by thumbnail Sold Dot