Marie Toseland

Marie Toseland works across a wide range of media, producing objects, images and texts that work together to explore the tension between contrasting notions of stillness and spectacle, and tangibility and transience.

Central to this is a preoccupation with abstracted fragments, frozen flashes caught in the act of materialising or waning in paintings and photographs. They exist simple and minimal and, through form, palette and composition consider themes of muteness, ambiguity and abstraction. All reference the organic – touching at once on nature and the corporeal.

Drawing on ideas around ephemerality and absence, an interrogation into notions of failure and loss is intrinsic to the production of objects. Forms are cast in perishable materials and left to wither and melt with a pathetic eroticism. These are often combined with solid, unflinching objects, such as a wide wall of speakers, as well as the sounds amplified by these, or spoken word performance. Rather than inert and impervious to time, the deteriorating objects become performative spectacles. By playing with notions of expectation and event, the works speak of feelings of dissatisfaction and anti-climax. Crucially, their destruction is unmonumentally played out; what begins as a seductive, phallic assertion ends up ugly and undermined.

An interest in fragile instability is something which runs deeply throughout her practice, manifesting itself again in writing. Produced with the intention of being presented as spoken word – utilising the ephemeral, untraceable nature of performance – and often partnered by objects or images, her texts provide a platform for questioning the sculptural potential of materials and objects. Doggedly capricious and overly descriptive to the verge of becoming oblique, the texts waver somewhere between arrival and deferral, so that the desire for lasting tangibility is never satiated.


Marie Toseland has exhibited throughout the UK, with recent exhibitions including the solo show Local Interference, WORKS|PROJECTS, Bristol (2011), and group shows Thoresby Street Thursdays, One Thoresby Street, Nottingham (2012), and The Potential for Windows and Scale, Contemporary Art Society, London (2011). Her writing has been printed in several publications, including The Potential for Windows and Scale (An Endless Supply, 2012) and FEAST Journal (Laura Mansfield, 2011), included in the Nowhereisland Resident Thinker programme (Situations, 2012), and have been presented as spoken word performances for the Happy Hypocrite at both Spike Island, Bristol (2011) and Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2011). Born 1987, Toseland lives and works in Bristol.