Marcia Miele Branca: MVA Open Studios

Marcia Miele Branca in her studio at Manufacturer’s Village along with her “Roland Hot Box”

Manufacturers Village Artist Studios, located in an 1880’s historic industrial complex at 356 Glenwood Avenue in East Orange, NJ, will feature the work of over 60 different artists at its annual open studios weekend, Friday 10/15 (VIP Preview) and Saturday thru Sunday from 11-5, 10/16 and 10/17.

Marcia Miele Branca works in printmaking, drawing and painting. She earned a B.A. in Art Education from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, an M.A. in Printmaking from Montclair State University, and her M.F.A. from New Jersey City University. Her work has been reviewed by Eileen Watkins and Dan Bischoff, art critics for the Star Ledger, and Barry Schwabsky of The New York Times.

Marcia has received scholarships from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, the Alliance for Arts Education, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Sugar Maples Center for the Arts, and the 14th International Encaustic Conference. Ms. Miele Branca received 1st Place in the Hunterdon Museum Members Show as well as the Monmouth County Arts Council Annual Juried Show at the Monmouth Museum.

Tell me about yourself and your art.

Meraki, from the Greek, describes me as an artist: to do something with soul, creativity, or love; the essence of the self put into the work. Currently, I am working with hot wax, pulling prints from a hot plate. Attention to temperature, pressure, paper absorption, opacity and translucency is required. I print on both sides of paper creating layers and depth. I use a variety of absorbent handmade and machine-made Kozo papers. In addition, I draw on the prints with various materials while still on the hot box. Heated wax captures the drawing material, merging it with the print.

Harlequin Dancers, 2020, mixed media encaustic monotype, kozo paper

What will we see in your studio?

My studio walls house prints and paintings, finished and unfinished. You will also encounter many art-making materials: paint, barens for transfer from hot box to paper, handmade stamps and fabrics for creating textures on my prints and paintings, and multiple drawing and collage materials. I don’t necessarily use brushes. Other implements are employed to move paint and create marks; e.g. heat resistant silicone tools, string, stencils, toothbrushes. My latest secret weapon is a velcro hair roller. Everyday items create wonderful textures. I am always on the lookout for interesting objects to use for unique mark making.

My imagery evolves instinctively, from within. Marks and palette choices emerge. There is an excitement in printmaking because it is done in reverse. I refer to it as an indirect way of making art. When the print is pulled off the hot box it is fresh and surprising! If I see a theme in the pulled print, I sometimes pursue it further.

You will also see examples of my oil and cold wax paintings. I use many of the same tools to create these, but the materials are very different. There is no heat involved. It is a process of conceal and reveal, wax on, wax off. I work from negative to positive, revealing buried layers of my unique visual language.

Setting Sail, 2020, mixed media/oil/cold wax/panel

Storm, 2020, encaustic monotype, rice paper