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Haphazard Adventures

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Pencil Brothers

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Saneholtz, Marissa
In both her beautifully crafted jewelry and her cleverly repurposed objects, Marissa Saneholtz explores gender-based issues, gently exposing societally sanctioned roles and assumptions.  Like the painter Roy Lichtenstein, Saneholtz uses imagery reminiscent of comic books popular in the late 1950s and 1960s.  In her case, however, she depicts vignettes that are more personal.  In the richly layered body of work she has produced over the past eight years, the artist uses both humor and appropriation to critique a wide variety of stereotypes.  As she has stated: “My work is an attempt to converse about the loss of innocence, gender issues, and my search for identity in today’s society.  The closer I get to defining my own place in the world, the less idealistic I become.” The witty images she invents poke fun at and explode roles traditionally assigned to men and women.  As she describes: “In the world of comic books and fairytales, the good guy always wins and prince charming saves the damsel in distress.  This work attempts to reference those ideals with cynicism and sarcasm.”  However, in her work there is also a nostalgia for lost innocence and the false sense of security roles provide:  “The nostalgic overtone references a time of innocence and discovery, while the included texts and titles intentionally disrupt this false sense of security.”

Saneholtz is a master of the champlevé enameling technique.  She creates cavities in metal by masking out areas she wishes to remain raised and then immerses the metal in an acid bath that eats away at the exposed metal.  She then cleans the piece and adds opaque enamel to the recessed areas.  Saneholtz prefers the champlevé technique because the areas of raised metal remind her of the bold outlines on the cartoon images that serve as her inspiration.

Marissa Saneholtz was born in Ohio in 1986.  In 2008 she was awarded her BFA in Three-dimensional Studies from Bowling Green State University in Ohio where she studied with Tom Muir, Danielle Crissman, and Amanda Stark.  In 2011 she received an MFA from East Carolina University (ECU) in Greenville, North Carolina where she studied enameling with Linda Darty and metals with Robert Ebendorf, Mi-Sook Hur, and Tim Lazure.  She subsequently served in various administrative and teaching roles in ECU’s Study Abroad Program in Certaldo, Italy.  She currently teaches at Bowling Green State University.