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Marina Savashynskaya Dunbar

Artist Spotlight

I am most productive with a curious and open state of mind.

Marina Savashynskaya Dunbar creates endlessly layered nature-based abstractions. Through a very physical process of harmonious movement she manipulates the surface of each piece, giving it a sculptural quality. She pushes the boundaries of her material, thereby carefully navigating the balance between control and spontaneity. 


Dunbar's paintings bare resemblance to elements in nature but avoid any form of literal representation. This way she aims to evoke the viewer's curiosity, while simultaneously providing a form of visual meditation. 

We talked to the artist to learn more about her process. 


Q. Growing up, did you always want to be an artist?

A. I always had a passion for creating and I started to focus specifically on painting when I was in high school. I experimented with oil, acrylic and watercolor during my first years in college. Then, I took a ceramic sculpture class and it broadened my perspective in relationship to painting. I began thinking of painting in three dimensions, instead of two. As I experimented with different media, I grew to learn that my interests lie in process and the balance between control and spontaneity.

Q. Where do you find inspiration? 

A. Inspiration comes for me from everywhere, sometimes from the natural world, sometimes from the interaction of color. I think being an artist means being open and sensitive to your surroundings which allows inspiration to come in freely rather than seeking it.

Q. Working with fluid media, do you have a clear idea of the outcome you are aiming for or does the process define the outcome? 

A. I tend to approach each painting with an open mind and a loose idea of the feeling or atmosphere I hope to capture. For me, too much premeditation can hinder the outcome. The process is a conversation, with each mark and shape being a response to the last. The nature of my medium is immediate and unforgiving, so my way of working requires an embracing of spontaneity and a keen sense of timing. My dedication to the process is rooted in my love for the material, pushing it’s boundaries and expectations.  

. How has your work evolved over time – has it been a gradual process or rather rapid developments? 

A. My ideas evolve through a gradual progression. Experiences build on each other. Ideas are cultivated with the passing of time and filtered through various memories, eventually rising up to the surface of consciousness. Sometimes I feel ideas on the brink of realization but it takes time for them to materialize into tangible thoughts. 

Do you feel like the last year has caused a shift in your personal and/or professional priorities?

A. This year has made me reconsider how I approach connection and impart the message of my work in the isolation of a pandemic. I focused on utilizing technology and how the documentation of my process can be used to invite the viewer beyond the surface of the painting. In doing so I found myself sharing, more openly than before, the decisions behind colors and compositions to show how these elements relate to the greater context of my work. I prioritized the use of photography and video as aids in the practice of visual story telling.

Q. What would you like your work to evoke in the viewer? 

A. I hope my work evokes a sense of curiosity while simultaneously becoming a visual meditation for the viewer. 


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