M a r s h a   C o n n e l l




Marsha Connell was nurtured in her love for art, nature, and learning by her grandfather, Samuel Riss, watercolor painter and Renaissance farmer in Upstate New York. She received her MFA in sculpture at San Francisco State University, and currently teaches in the art department at Santa Rosa Junior College. Recipient of several California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence grants, she also conducts arts projects in schools and creative retreats.

Artist's Statement

A premonition of the Gulf War in a dream impelled me to create the "Dream Vessels." Begun in spring 1991, the series has taken on its own momentum, now over one hundred thirteen titles. Like intimately scaled murals, the collages incorporate stories about family, cultural history, and the environment-including the devastation of war, oil spills, the Oakland firestorm, and the Three Mile Island nuclear plant disaster, as well as simple pleasures and life's mysteries -- dance, music, motherhood. They also function as homages and memorials to all the victims of September Eleventh, to my grandmothers and grandfathers, to artists who have been my mentors and inspiration -- guardians of the creative source.

My daughter, Reba, in Jerusalem for her junior year abroad, said, as we parted during the Gulf War, "When you think about me in Israel, try not to worry. Why don't you do something productive, like make a collage? And I will make a watercolor for you. Her painting came with a poem, and my collage making of healing "letters without words" grew to a ten-year practice.

Dream Vessels #86 -- Nocturne

"War Games"

On retreat in a ramshackle house with artists and writers, soldiers take us to watch war games. Uniformed players ring a grassy hillside. A deep voice booms out: "The women soldiers will go first!"

Women load cannons, singing a working rhythm, chatting about girl things -- hair and nails and boyfriends. Their steady murmuring almost soothes, drowns undercurrents of fear. It is astounding that they take this grim task so lightly.

We observers back away from the guns. Huddled together, we lie down on a parking lot at the bottom of the hill, covering our heads. Someone puts hands over my ears. Hiding my eyes, I peek through the spaces between my fingers. Explosions rumble over us, through us. The ground drums reverberations. My heart roars in my ears. My eyes sting with smoke. I choke on protests.

"Bowl Of Eggs"

You approach me
two speckled eggs, huge,
held out to me, in a bowl.
Walking, cradling
this new armful,
I see the shells are cracking.
I don't know how
I'm to take care of them,
my bowl was already full.


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2002 ASD Dream Art Exhibition

19th Annual International Conference for the Association for the Study of Dreams
June 15 - 19, 2002
at Tufts University, Medford, Boston, Massachusetts

- 2002 -
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