That’s a good thing.
The artist, who also is the assistant director for UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, will display seven large, free-standing carved wood and cast iron sculptures in the east-wing lobby area of the library. “1000 Cuts” will run Sept. 23 through Dec. 5. Marsh will talk about his work Sept. 26 outside the library on the east entrance steps during a 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. reception.
“This exhibition is a really cool way to use the library,” Marsh said of the venue. “So many students, faculty and staff utilize this resource. The show allows them to interact with art in a high-traffic area of campus without having to specifically seek it out.”
Marsh has been carving wood—with a chain saw—since 2010. He uses only felled dead wood and recycles iron that he casts into carved wood molds. His work has been described as “disquieting,” an unsettling reflection of his boundless energy tempered by the chronic pain he lives with since suffering a severe back injury in 2002 while building the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.
A metal sculptor of more than 20 years, the injury caused Marsh to reinvent himself as an artist. He started the process by making small sculptures from household trash and casting them—with help from other artists— in iron. As he has gained strength, he has made larger artworks and adopted new processes and materials.
“Yeah, my injuries cause chronic pain and limit my mobility. However, I refuse to accept this as a curse,” Marsh said. “It hurts when I hold still just as much as when I work, so I go for it.
“Carving with chain saws is one way I adopted of making art that reflects the severity of my chronic pain while being incredibly fast,” he explained. “Art is about defining and overcoming obstacles that are mental, physical and material. Pain adds a pronounced and decisive dimension to that challenge that echoes through the work, but so does love, grief, happiness, outrage, etc. I use it all.”
The show is free and open to the public during regular east-wing hours.
To date, Marsh’s work has appeared in more than 250 group and solo exhibitions and collections throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom. He makes sculpture at his home studio, Lucky 7 Arts, and is on the board of Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort, Ky.
Marsh has worked at UofL for eight years. At the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, he is responsible for daily operations, public relations and communications and facilitating the center’s growth. Before taking the Conn Center post, he was a research grant coordinator at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.