OREGON MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, Portland OR – To Feb 17
by Allyn Cantor
Christopher Marley’s unique artworks are like eye candy for the nature lover. Using real specimens, he creates three-dimensional works with insects, minerals, animals and plants as his media. His clean, organized compositions reveal a kaleidoscope of beauty arranged in geometries of color and pattern. From beetles and butterflies to snakes and fish, his media span the globe, displaying a full spectrum inherent in nature, while broadening the appreciation for misunderstood species.
Marley’s materials are responsibly sourced through a network of collections and institutions across the planet; he uses reclaimed organisms that have died from natural causes or are obtained in a sustainable manner.
Before becoming an artist and naturalist, Marley began his career in the fashion industry, where he traveled worldwide and was able to collect unique materials. His strong background in design coupled with a love for discovering organisms led to Marley’s inventive style. The artist pays attention to the mechanics of color as well as genetically related organisms from different parts of the world in order to form striking visual relationships that tell a larger scientific story.
Marley was raised in the Pacific Northwest, and his father bred rare Australian parrots. He kept the ones that died frozen because he could not bear to discard their beauty. This familial influence also plays a role in the evolution of Marley’s work. The artist has pioneered preservation techniques and uses a proprietary method to freeze-dry creatures so he can highlight their beauty. These divinely designed elements of nature are composed into elegant mosaic-like arrangements that pay homage to the spirit of the specimens. Marley’s artworks inspire us to think about conservation and the ancient connection between art, nature and science.