An interview with Marci Tackett, who is the Wellington-based printmaker behind the REND/ition Exhibition on display in MANAAKI NUI from 20 July - 16 August 2023.
What is your background, artistic or otherwise?
Growing up in Denver, Colorado, my family life revolved around synchronised swimming. I was very sporty and thought I needed to expand my interests so I got into art, exploring plaster, photography, painting, and drawing. I got into printmaking as a way of avoiding drawing, and I loved it because it was indirect with this variable chaos-maker of the press and not knowing what is going to happen with the final result. That variable in the middle is probably what has sustained me all these years, because if I don’t have some sort of surprise then I don't see the point.
Can we talk about the inspiration for REND/ition and what compelled you to create these works?
I was quite surprised after creating and putting up this work from a 10-year period, as I never thought to do that. I was into process and print making, but in 2012 my dad passed away after a year long process which was very challenging. I was sitting in my studio one day and started ripping up this black fabric, as I was very sad but found it was very therapeutic, and then started exploring different uses with the ripped pieces, including printmaking. I started with a little tiny one and decided to do a lot more of them, which felt like a very natural thing to do, like I was getting hugged by the process. I was creating something through grief and tearing something to pieces. When your world has been torn to pieces, it can make you feel a bit better as it gives you a sense of control.
How do you show this through this work? Can you explain how it is woven into the different elements and layers?
I knew that the shapes that formed as I created this work were significant to me, and allowing my parents to be part of my story in a visual way allows me to acknowledge that we are everything that has happened to us throughout our lives and throughout our parents lives. We are always layering, we’re just a bunch of layered beings.
The initial body of work, ‘RIP’ was all about the ripped fabrics, and after that I felt like I could move on to explore colour. I always like to have one foot in my old body of work while taking a big step into my next piece. If I had said I wanted to create a body of work around grief, recovering from grief, dealing with fear, and all of these big heavy topics, I wouldn't know where to start, so I have to create work that is of interest to me through my own lens. Many people have said this work has affected them too, and that’s when I realised my experience has touched a more universal experience that other people can connect with.
Why has the medium of printmaking been your outlet here?
Part of being a human is realising that shit happens, so I love setting myself up with random problems and figuring out how to solve them, and the things I discover about myself and the work I create. In my own tiny way, each time I use the paper and ink I’m taking a risk and finding how to use this in my art, because at a point, the chaos of the press isn’t chaotic enough for me so I have to throw in a different variable and up the stakes. A screen is my church, it’s my spiritual place, and when I make my work it's my ability to be absolutely free.
Is there a way you like the pieces to tell the story when they are hung on the walls?
I loved the way the pieces in this collection talked to each other. I don’t have children but maybe it’s like seeing your child be generous to other children and knowing you raised them right, so seeing the works on the wall speaking to each other is very meaningful way to me. Having a big space like Te Atamira is an opportunity you don't get very often, like having a big playground to let them out and run around and see what they do. When I hung the works I was problem-solving and the pieces just told me where to go.
What message do you hope people take from seeing your works?
I think that if people are interested enough to engage with my work, then that is enough, and what they think is none of my business. If someone connects it to something that is really meaningful to them, or they want to know what goes into the process, or the colour hits them with a visceral reaction, that is really satisfying to me.
What has come from this experience, and what projects do you have in the pipeline?
After each show, I like to make a book and prints as a souvenir of the exhibition because it’s a nice way for me to put it to bed, and it was just the BEST experience ever exhibiting at Te Atamira. My next project is taking 40 different things on screens and adding more specific variables such as colour and transparency, to create this big body of work with a show of works displayed and have children along to make little versions, because the point is getting your hands in to the materials and choosing a process and finding a way to go from what you see to where you want to go.
About Marci Tackett
Marci Tackett has lived and worked in New Zealand since 2006, developing and expanding her interdisciplinary art practice and teaching at The Learning Connexion in Lower Hutt. She was born in Denver, Colorado in 1968.
In 1994 she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking and her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the University of Colorado. In 2014 she received the Diploma of Art and Creativity (Advanced) from The Learning Connexion in Lower Hutt.
Wellington-based printmaker and tutor Marci Tackett brings a beautifully crafted and colourful selection of her works on paper to Te Atamira. Made over several years as an expression and processing of grief, these dynamic relief/ planographic prints, monotypes and photographic works are nonetheless full of life and explore new avenues of printmaking and colour.