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Work Samples

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Watercolor, color pencil, watercolor pencil. H-20"x W-17"


Sweep Free standing sculpture. Pine wood, willow. H-55 x W-50" x D-45

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Verge Free standing sculpture. Pine wood and willow. H 50" x W-45" x D-45" 2018


About marcia

Baltimore City

marcia wolfson ray's picture
Marcia Wolfson Ray was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. In 1993 she received a fellowship to attend the Mount Royal  Graduate School at the Maryland Institute College of Art where she earned her MFA. She taught art in the Baltimore City Public School System. While in graduate school she started using organic materials such as bamboo, phragmites, dog fennel, hibiscus, straw, marsh elder and pine wood to construct her sculptures.... more


                                                             "The map is not the territory." - Alfred Korzybski
The source of my art has always come from nature and the landscape. The changes and cycles nature goes through are part of my focus in making art.
These are my latest sculptures. They are constructed from pine wood and willow. The pine wood was collected from the marshes of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. In the winter the marsh is burned to promote new growth in the spring.
Burning allows for healthy growth and increases plant diversity. It increases wildlife habitat and promotes an environment for rare and threatened plant species. It also helps to control hazardous buildup of fuel. The controlled marsh fires are important to the conservation of birds and wildlife.
What attracts me to this wood is the visual record that remains. The twists and shapes that were produced when the tree was growing in the marsh. The black charring from the fire and the bleached quality produced by the sunlight as it lies on the ground act as a catalyst for ideas for the sculpture.
Collecting the materials enables me to be out in nature and this process directly contributes to my desire to make art.
I drill arbitrary holes in the pine wood and use the willow as dowels to construct a scaffolding which creates another visual element.
There is an aspect of randomness that has infiltrated my working process as my art evolves. I can not make sketches of  what the finished piece will look like because as I work the piece continually changes in unforseeable ways. Included in my primary influences are the visual presence of the wood I am working with and the effect of gravity, the physical act of having the piece stand.
The delicate balance in constructing the sculpture takes on a life of its own and helps determine the final visual effects. It is this unpredictability in the process that draws me in and keeps me working.
This process which begins when I am out in the landscape allows me an intimacy with the natural world which helps me feel connected to the very thing that makes my existence possible. My art is essentially about a process of transformation and an evolution of materials.
These are five of my latest pieces, with a couple views of each sculpture.

  • Journey (detail)

    Free standing sculpture. Pine wood and willow. H-55" x W-50" x D-45"
  • Sweep

    Sweep Free standing sculpture. Pine wod and willow. H-55" x W-50" x D45"
  • Sweep (detail)

    Free standing sculpture. Pine wood and willow. H-55" x W-50" x D45".
  • Entropy

    Free standing sculpture. Pine wood, willow. H-50" x W-45" x D-40"
  • Entropy (detail)

    Free standing sculpture. Pine bark and willow. H 50" x W-45
  • Verge

    Free standing sculpture. H-45" x W-40" x D- 30". Pine Wood , willow.
  • Verge (detail)

    Free standing sculpture. Pine wood and willow0 H- 45" x W-40" x D-45"
  • Distance

    Distance- free standing- pine wood, willow- H-35" x W- 35" x D 30"-
  • Distance (detail)

    Distance Freestanding sculpture. Pine wood, willow.


 This series of sculptures represent a departure from my previous work ( in Section Four) in the fact that they are free standing and not wall hung. This evolution away from the wall led me to focus on the more three dimensional qualities of my materials and the more subtle use of space. 
The sculptures are constructed from pine wood gathered from the marshes of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and willow. I had been working with these materials before but at this time I started to see the wood in more comprehensive way.
In the past I had used materials such as dog fennel, phragmites, and corn stalks. These materials all had qualities that drew me to them but one of the dominant traits of these materials was a lineariness that imposed a grid and symetrical design on my work. At this time I could think up ideas and draw them out and have a blueprint of my design for the contruction of the sculpture.
When I started to collect the wood from the marsh and work with it I had a realization. Some one (not a person involved in art) had seen pictures of my work and made the comment that all my art was symetrical. This was something I had not realized. I don't think I gave it anymore conscous thought but it had lodged in my brain. When I started using the pine wood and working free standing I let the different qualities of the wood manifest themselves. Losing some control over my process produced a certain randomness and organic quality. I was attracted to this new way of working which created in me an excitment I hadn't felt before. My process from that point on had changed.

  • Crest

    Crest Freestanding sculpture. H 45" x W-40" x D-40 Pine wood and willow. 2017
  • Crest (detail)

    Crest Free standing sculpture. ine wood and willow. H45" x W-40"x D-40"
  • Entanglement

    Entanglement Free standing sculpture. Pine wood, willow. H-40' x W- 40" x D-35"
  • Entanglement (detail)

    Entanglement Free standing sculpture. Pine wood, willow.H-40"x W40" x D-35"
  • Heliotrope

    Heliotope Free standing sculpture. Pine wood, willow. H 45" x W40" x D-40"
  • Heliotrope (detail)

    Heliotrope Free standing sculpture. Pine wood, willow. H-45" x W-40" x D-40"
  • Direction

    Direction Sculpture- Free standing, Pine wood, willow. H-24" x W-22" x D-30"
  • Spark

    Spark- free standing- Pine wood, willow- H-24" x W- 24" x D 24"
  • Phantom

    Phantom Sculpture- free standing, pine wood, willow H-35" x W-30" x D-24"
  • Intersection

    Intersection Sculpture- free standing, pine wood, willow. H-24" x W-24" x D-28"

Three - Drawings

This section is a series of drawings using a combination of water color and color pencils.
In 2020 I could not work on the sculpture because of knee surgery. While recuperating  I started drawing with some color pencils I had.
My focus for years had been on the sculpture. I had been teaching part-time in the Baltimore City public school system and this forced me to use my time in the most productive way I could manage. Between collecting my materials and actually constructing the sculptures it left me little time to explore other mediums. A combination of events occured which left me in a different place. Last year I left the school system and at the same time was limited on being able to work on sculpture. The result was I started to explore drawing.
 My interst in the natural world also manefests itself  in reading about the world of quantum physics. This examination of the natural world on a subatomic level I think influences my art in the creation of the sculptures and the drawings.
I should say that my reading and understanding of physics is very limited. I aim to try to understand the basic concepts of what I read and to try to understand the role this might play in our natural world. While I don't think the drawings can be interpreted literally I feel  they  reflect  an aspect of this interst. 
I have not worked with color in a long time and am trying to use this aspect to express space and form. Again not in a literal way. Working  three-dimensionally space and form are manifested very concretely. While working two-dimenisonally space and form become elusive.
My struggle to express this world in a new medium (for me) is a challenge. The initial urge to express and communicate is what every artist  is dealing with and  while the end product reveals to what extent the artist is successful I believe it is the journey that's the primary goal.


These are wall hung sculptures. The latest is from 2016 and proceeds back in time. At this time I had started using pine wood that I had collected but these pieces still included a variety of materials.
  Some of the materials for these works include pine wood, dog fennel, marsh elder, hibiscus, willow and crepe myrtle. Most of the materials I collected myself. Sometimes someone may trim a tree and give me the remnants.
At this point in time my ideas are starting to expand but there is a basic underlying grid still  applied to theses works.
I think this is the beginning of an evolution in my art that starts with the materials and continues into the forms.
Nature and the environment play a key role in my work. I am not trying to imitate or produce a literal interpretation of what I see.
My goal is  more in line with a synthesis of my experience out in nature and its effect on me. I do most of the collecting myself and many of the sculptures are constructed atleast partially outdoors. The time I spend outdoors is a key influence on my work.
Because the inspiration for the sculptures comes from nature the time I spend out in the environment is the equivalent to time spent in the studio. The process is ongoing whether I am collecting or actually constructing a sculpture. 

  • Terrain

    Sculpture- wall hung. H-75" x W-75" x D 12" Pine wood, dog fennel, willow 2016
  • Eclipse

    Sculpture- wall hung. H- 75" x W70" x D-15" Pine wood, dog fennel 2015
  • Tempest

    Sculpture- wall hung. H-70" x W-70" x D-12" Groundsel, Marsh elder, dog fennel 2013
  • Disturbance

    Sculpture- wall hung H-80" x W- 75" x D- 15" Pine wood, dog fennel 2016
  • Rendezvous

    Sculpture- wall hung. Crepe myrtle, dog fennel, marsh elder H-36" x w- 36" x 15" 2015
  • Camouflage

    Sculpture-wall hung H60" x W- 60" x D- 12" Groundsel. marsh elder, dogfennel 2008


These works are from 2015 and before. The sculptures were created from material I gather from the fields and marshes mainly on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. They include pine wood, dog fennel, honeysuckle vines ( and other vines), marsh elder, phragmites, corn stalks and joe pye weed.
The materials and the form they take are strongly influenced by the environment they originate from. The variety of materials sparks my imagination and contributes to the final visual effect..
Also included in this group are three installations that were included in the Outdoor Sculptural In vitational- Artist in Dialogue With the Landscape. These exhibits took pace at the Adkins Arboretum in Rdgely, Maryland in the years 2014, 2016 and 2018,

  • Zig Zag

    Sculpture- wall hung- H-70" x W-24" x D-12". Materials- dog fennel, Joe Pye weed
  • Metamorphosis

    Metamrphosis Free standing H-85" x W- 24" x D- 24"- Marsh Elder, vines, dog fennel- 2014
  • Metamorphosis- detail

    Metamrphosis Free standing H-85" x W- 24" x D- 24"- Marsh Elder, vines, dog fennel- 2014
  • Embrace

    Embrace Free standing H 30" x W 25" x D 20" Marsh elder- 2014
  • Embrace -detail

    Embrace Free standing H 30" x W 25" x D 20" Marsh elder- 2014
  • Apparition.jpg

    Apparition Wall hung. Dog fennel, phragmites. H40" x W30" x D-20" 2014
  • Jostle.jpg

    Jostle Freestanding. Dog fennel, phragmites, corn stalk. H45" x w-24" x D-24" 2013
  • Dragon

    Installation. Dog fennel. H-30" x W-12' x W- 24" 2016
  • Tickle

    Scultpure Installation- cherry wood- H70" x W-95" x D-15" - 2016
  • Serpentine

    Sculpture installation. Marsh elder, groundsel H-20" x W20" x D-20' 2018


These are a variety of sculptures from 2015 and before.
They are a combination of free standing and wall hung sculptures.
Some of the plants used are honeysuckle vines, hibiscus, sweet clover, corn stalks, hosta leaves, flower stems, pine bark and dog fennel.
In using a variety of natural materials I am trying to explore all the visual qualities that are present in them.
When I collect these difffernt materials I let them sit for a period of time in my studio. I find out how well they last over this time. Some materials deteriorate and I cannot use them. Some materials petrify and gain a certain strength. These are the materials I wind up working with. I do coat the pieces with a combination  of paper mache and glue to seal them.This has no effect visually on the piece but does add a strength to the surface.  While they may have a fragile appearance the pieces do withstand a certain degree of abuse that is inevitable in the process of exhibiting them.

  • Flutter

    Flutter H 80" x W 36" x D 24" Hosta leaves, vines, dog fennel 2012
  • Flutter (detail)

    Flutter H 80" x W 36" x D 24" Hosta leaves, vines, dog fennel 2012
  • Range

    Sculpture- free standing H-35" x W-24" x D-24". Materials- pine bark, dog fennel.
  • Spin

    Spin Free standing H 30" x W 30" x D 30" Joe Pye weed, vines 2013
  • Spin -detail

    Spin Free standing H 30" x W 30" x D 30" Joe Pye weed, vines 2013
  • Vale

    vale Pine bark, dog fennel H-80" x W-80" 2013
  • Vanishing Point

    Sculpture- free standing H- 50' x W-30" x d-30" Corn stalks, sweet clover 2014
  • Flurry

    Sculpture- wall hung H-25" x W-25" x 12" phragmites, grass 2008
  • Revolution

    Sculpture- free standing. H-70" x W24" x D-24" Dog fennel, hibiscus 2010
  • Grid

    Sc- wall hungulpture H- 40" x W-40" x D-5" - Flower stems- 2005


Thee are earlier works. My travels take me to many locations around Maryland but I am increasingly collecting more of my materials from the fields and marshes of the Eastern Shore.

  • Lacuna

    This piece is costructed from dog fennel. It is approximately H-75" x W-24" x D-24".
  • Resist

    This piece is constructed from Dog Fennel and Sensitive Fern, It is approximately H-50" x W 34" x D- 20".
  • Incline

    This piece is constructed from Dog Fennel. It is approximately H-65" x W- 36" x D-90".
  • Range

    This piece is constructed from Pine Bark and Dog Fennel. I is approximately H-40"x W 30" x D-30".
  • Facade

    This piece is constructed from Marsh Elder. It is approximately H-45" x W- 45" x D 24".
  • Construction

    H 20" x W-20" x D-20" - Grass, phragmites
  • Temple

    Sculpture wall hung. H-40" x W-24" x D- 20" Dog fennel grasses


These works are a combination of wall hung and free standing sculptures.
The materials used in these pieces are dog fennel, pine wood, corn leaves, lily stems, hosta leaves, switch grass, straw, black needle rush, phragmites.

  • Twist

    Sculpture- wall hung H 40" x W- 36" x D-30" Dog fennel 2005
  • Stand

    Sculpture- wall hung. H-40" x W- 30" x D-24" Dog fennel 2004
  • Conduit

    Sculpture- free standing. Pine wood, dog fennel. H-24" x W 36" x D 24" 2007
  • Smile

    Sculpture- wall hung. H-12' x W-12" x D-10" Corn leaves, lily stems 2004
  • Three Tiers

    Sculpture- free standing. Hibiscus, hosta leaves H-12' x W- 8" x D-8" 2004
  • Spiral

    Sculpture- wall hung H- 60" x W-60" x D 6" wood 2002
  • Wave

    Wall hung sculpture. h-45" x W45" x D- 12". Scotch broom. 2005
  • Triangle

    Sculpture hung from ceiling. H-140" x W 60" x D-60". Straw, netting. 2004
  • Blind

    Wall hung sculpture. Black needle rush, phragmites. H30" x W-40". 2009
  • Bloom

    Wall hung sculpture. Switch grass, phragmites. H-30" x W-40" x D-15". 2002


My love of nature led me to collect a variety of plants for my sculptures which acted as a catalyst for my ideas.

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