Mars Tokyo's Artist Statement ~ Coastline Series
Mars Tokyo is the nom des artes for Sally Mericle, who resides in Baltimore.
Ms. Mericle exhibited widely in nationally juried shows in the 1970s-80's, was listed in the 1998 Who’s Who In America and attended the United Nations Fourth World Conference in Beijing China in 1995. There she presented to the NGO portion on the topic of Art as Information vs. Commodity. During the decade of the 1990‘s she taught Graphic Design at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Her chosen media include Gouache, Pastel, Lithography, Etching, Photography, Digital Design, Cell and Digital Animation and Assemblage.
Since 2001, Mars Tokyo has produced three major bodies of work. The first is a series of over 200 miniature assemblages called, collectively, the Theaters of the 13th Dimension. Working deliberately in miniature, they challenge the long held idea of scale determining the power of a work. The themes of the pieces are highly narrative and dramatic, hence the reference to “Theaters.” Through their miniature scale, the viewer is empowered and transformed.
Following and in response to ECT treatment for severe depression in 2008, Mars Tokyo began a series of ink and graphite drawings called The Black on Black series. Beginning with white Arches paper saturated with India ink, Tokyo drew into the darkness with a soft graphite pencil. As the series progressed, the backgrounds lightened until finally they became white with light ink washes and graphite.
From the Black on Black series evolved the current series of Coastline paintings in gouache and India ink on black Arches cover stock. From the beginning of the Black on Black series, there was feeling of a watery darkness, like a sea at nighttime with no means of navigation. As the depression lifted, land came into view and thus the Coastline series began.
With these paintings, Mars Tokyo’s goal and purpose is to document particularly fragile areas of the earth’s coastlines in light of Global Warming and the changes that might precipitate. In 50 years it is quite likely these coastlines will vanish and transform into something else. Each painting in this ongoing series stems from a process of searching and researching current world atlases and satellite Google Earth maps, from which a free hand outline is made. In the process of searching, Tokyo is particularly drawn to areas that have a 50/50 balance of water to land. This creates a strong figure-ground relationship which enhances the visual power of the piece. And lest one think the Coastline paintings are merely reproductions of maps, Mars Tokyo introduces textural and graphic elements that transform the land into living, biomorphic masses and the water into vibrating, scintillating bodies.