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Kim Marra Wrestles Chaos and Control in Her Intimate, Dreamlike Paintings cover

Kim Marra Wrestles Chaos and Control in Her Intimate, Dreamlike Paintings

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post ran in 2022. We’re publishing this update in honor of our February 2024 exhibition, PINK!, which includes work from Kim Marra.

“The world’s chaos has a way of making us feel small and helpless; sometimes the only thing left to do is take it in and make art,” Kim Marra tells Helms Bakery District.

In an attempt to wrestle the chaos and control her environment, L.A.-based painter and curator Kim Marra created in my room, a topsy-turvy series of collage-style paintings created during the pandemic. However, Kim notes, “[The series] is in no way a conscious response to the pandemic.” With endless time to imagine a redecorated home, Kim dreamt up a fractured world where synthetic objects stand in for natural wonders. “The paintings featured in this series consider the relationship between man-made objects and their surrounding natural environments, often substituting one for the other,” she writes in her artist statement. “In one instance, using fabric as a stand-in for water; in another, for a rolling hillside.”

‘in my room’ (installation view)

Kim embraces a David Hockney-esque flatness that’s disrupted by textural folds, wood grain, and shaded concrete, all puzzled together to explore the relationship between man-made and natural structures. “The work is a meditation on how people interact with the world around us,” she says. “How we manipulate space for our comforts, abuse our natural resources for personal gain, and rely on our houses and communities for stability without necessarily considering how they came to be.”

Kim’s work lingers in the sweet spot between abstraction and representation as she “deconstructs visual references to places and objects to then reassemble them and create new dreamlike and surreal environments.” The resulting spaces are “deeply personal” to Kim but, at the same time, “entirely unreal.”

Scroll through to see Kim’s work, then head to our February 2024 exhibition, PINK!, to see her submission, “Rolling Hills.”

“The world’s chaos has a way of making us feel small and helpless; sometimes the only thing left to do is take it in and make art.” — Kim Marra

LA-based artist Kim Marra explores the relationship between manmade objects and their surrounding natural environments in her recent ‘in my room’ series.
‘Curtains Collage’
LA-based artist Kim Marra explores the relationship between manmade objects and their surrounding natural environments in her recent ‘in my room’ series.
‘Skylight’
LA-based artist Kim Marra explores the relationship between manmade objects and their surrounding natural environments in her recent ‘in my room’ series.
‘The Rug is Concrete’
LA-based artist Kim Marra explores the relationship between manmade objects and their surrounding natural environments in her recent ‘in my room’ series.
‘Through the Window’
‘Water Falling’
‘Reading in Bed’
‘On the Couch at Midnight’ (installation view)

Kim Marra: Website | Instagram | Purchase Work

All photos published with permission of the artist(s); photos: Ian Byers-Gamber.

Want to be featured on NOT REAL ART? Email editor@notrealart.com with a short introduction and a link to your online portfolio or three images of your work.

Jenna Eberhardt

Jenna Eberhardt (she/her/hers) is NOT REAL ART’s associate editor. Jenna is a writer and working artist from Asheville, NC, who specializes in watercolor botanicals and dreamy moonscapes. A true night owl, Jenna enjoys a minimum of two cups of coffee per day and isn’t afraid of the dark when she’s up late painting. As a registered yoga instructor with a background in health and wellness, Jenna believes in the brain-boosting power of a regular mindfulness practice, regarding rest and relaxation as a necessary part of the creative process.

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