marin abell

News Archives






I-Park Foundation, Inc. Presentation

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm, July 24, 2016


I am presenting on my work and recent project installed at I-Park Foundation, Inc. for their open studios reception. My six fellow companions will be sharing their studio practices as well, and our backgrounds are pretty diverse- painting, installation, video, music composition and fiction writing.

I-Park is located at 428 Hopyard Road, East Haddam, CT 06423

Details and to RSVP:

Topeka Magazine, Artist of the Month

Summer 2016 issue


I am Topeka Magazine’s July Artist of the Month for the upcoming 2016 summer edition of their quarterly magazine. Here’s a sneak peak from my studio visit with photographer Bill Stevens, and a snippet of the kind story by Barbara Waterman-Peters of whom I’m very grateful for everything she does to propel the arts:

              As an instructor, Abell requires his students to research everything involved in the creation of their work, 

              from the materials to the techniques, so that they are thoroughly versed in the visual language in which

              their work will address a viewer. Abell explains this also “disrupts functional fixity,” meaning it opens up new

              applications of materials by going beyond their immediate, default function.

I-Park installation process

July 2016


I finally got my welder in a tree to install my sculpture, grandpa would be proud

I-Park Foundation, Inc. Artist-in-Residence program arrival

June - July 2016


I finally arrived at the I-Park artist-in-residence program where I’ll work from the end of June to the end of July, and they welcomed us with a cruise on the Connecticut River :D

I’ve wanted to participate in this for years, and I love my new studio/home. It’s a half mile from everybody else, in the woods on a own little Walden.

CNC router project sneak peak

Summer 2016


I’m slowly chipping away at a project that involves fabricating a [Trojan] leafy seahorse thank you to the technology I can access at my local makerspace. I produced the initial vector design in Adobe Illustrator, cut out a mock-up on the Epilog laser cutter, and am working on the larger version with the ShopBot CNC router. There are so many little pieces- yikes!

CNC Laser cutter fabrication for I-Park sculpture

Spring/Summer 2016


My shipment of 5 8ft.X4ft. sheets of clear acrylic arrived, so I can begin fabricating parts of my sculpture for I-Park Foundation, Inc.’s environmental art park. Here’s a look at the process- I cut the sheets down into 3ft.X2ft. chunks to fit the bed of the laser cutter. I produced designs in Adobe Illustrator of deciduous leaves (which are being eaten at I-Park by Gypsy Moths). I produced leaf cutting patterns for eight different species of deciduous trees- in total I’ll cut out nearly a thousand leaves, but we’ll see how many I have time to actually install during my 4 week residency.

Inspiration: Foundations juried exhibition at Monmouth College

February - April 2016


An assignment I designed and executed is included in the juried exhibition “Inspiration: Foundations Exhibition” at the Len G. Everett Gallery at Monmouth College that coincides with their Foundations in Art: Theory and Education conference. The catalog on the table was published and distributed at the conference and to participants, and includes all the assignments included in the exhibition for potential use in studio courses.

Montello Foundation fellowship, Montello, Nevada

May - June 2016


I am so excited to be a resident at the Montello Foundation off the grid in the Great Basin desert in Nevada to explore and write about fieldwork in the arts. You can see how remote it is in the photographs- no neighbors for miles, and the nearest gas station is almost a two hour trek down dirt roads. I love how efficient the building is- electric appliances are solar powered (there is a generator for heavy power tools), precipitation from the roof is channeled into a chlorinated basement cistern for showering and cooking, a propane tank heats the hot water and the stove, and the roof hangs over the walls nearly 3 feet so that in the summer when the sun is higher the building is kept in the shade but in the winter when the sun is lower it can shine through the windows and heat the structure.

Lawrence Percolator exhibition

Spring 2016


My project H.M.S. Hydra is on exhibit at the Lawrence Percolator in Lawrence, Kansas for their “Heating Up: Artists Respond to Climate Change,” exhibit. Joanna Hlavacek of the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper included my project nicely in her review:

Artists of varying experience and training, among them professors and students, have contributed works varying from paintings, prints and drawings to sculptures, handmade books and installations.

When asked to describe his “Heating Up” piece, Washburn University professor of art Marin Abell references a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered.”

His 9-foot flat-bottomed trolling motorboat is partially made with Eurasian Watermilfoil, an invasive species that he started researching during a residency at upstate New York’s Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in the summer of 2014.

In the Finger Lakes area, communities were spending millions of dollars in efforts to eradicate the species, Abell learned, at times dousing water bodies with herbicides, sending in scuba divers to remove the plant by hand or mowing with WeedWacker-boat hybrids that would bail the weed on deck and transport it by the ton to the city dump, where it would decompose for a year to be used as soil fertilizer.

When Abell moved to Topeka not long after, he discovered Eurasian Watermilfoil had also become a problem at nearby Lake Shawnee, and that herbicides were being used to beat back the thick stem entanglements and vast mats of vegetation that covered the water’s surface.

So, he decided to offer an alternative solution.

“I’m using a material that’s considered a menace and treating it as something productive,” Abell says of his creation. “In my own life, I think of certain things as wasteful, and I think as a culture we do that too, which to me seems a very narrow-minded way to classify the world. Weeds are different - they disregard our agenda.”

The “H.M.S. Hydra,” as he’s calling it, is crafted from a resin-sealed fiber made out of Eurasian Watermilfoil. Produced in consultation with Topeka’s All Grain Brewing Specialists, the boat runs on distilled Eurasian Watermilfoil ethanol.

The name of the boat, of course, comes from the Greek myth of the Hydra water monster, whose many heads would only regenerate if any hero dared to chop them off. When sliced by boat propellers, the fragments of Watermilfoil stems will disseminate and grow into new plants even faster.

“In this Greek mythology, the Hydra is a feminine figure that’s slain by a male figure,” Abell says. “Instead of trying to slay it, I’m trying to embrace the perspective of the other.”


Topeka Magazine spread

Summer 2016


Here’s a picture of my spread in this summer’s Topeka Magazine :D

Montello Foundation book



Here’s a sneak peak at my upcoming spread in the Montello Foundation book :D