Disrupted Realism: An Interview with Meredith Marsone

Author: Jackie Lemmon

Realistic portraits abstracted by streaks of oil paint, colors pulled through the paintings, blurring through arms, torsos, faces. The emotive figures are portrayed in a way for open interpretation by the viewer. These pastel tones on panels describe the work of New Zealand artist Meredith Marsone. Meredith is one of the amazing artists to be chosen as a finalist for the 2018 Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize. “The Lost Generation” is the painting that landed a spot in the first rounds of the competition.

My largest painting to date, The Lost Generation, is a comment on our addiction to devices, social media and the constant distraction this sets up, particularly in our teenagers (this is a portrait of my own 14 year old daughter). This generation hasn’t known life without their phones. And it’s damaging them, their relationships and their abilities to cope in an ever changing, ever demanding world.

Her evocative paintings are part of a new modern art movement, “Disrupted Realism”, a movement that she has helped pioneer. You can gather the art movement definition from looking at Meredith’s artwork; realistic artwork that has been twisted and modified to be abstracted, half realistic half abstracted. Disrupted.

More recent in her arsenal of subjects is the appearance of landscapes and floral works. These subjects are a new experimental challenge for Meredith, and you can expect to start seeing them included in her figural portraits. One such portrait is her painting “ONE”, specifically made for inclusion in Beautiful Bizarre’s art prize exhibition Representational Modern, set to open January 12, 2019 at Modern Eden Gallery.

Continue reading below to find out more about Meredith Marsone, her piece for the Representational Modern exhibit, and her thoughts about entering the Art Prize!

Meredith Marsone

We would love to hear your thoughts on the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize: What was the process like for you? Did it meet your expectations?

It was an easy online process to enter. I have no concerns at all about it!

Why did you enter the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize?

As a practising artist I think it’s important to enter appropriate art awards as often as my workload and schedule allow. The Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize I felt was particularly relevant to my work and I had a painting [pictured below] I was particularly proud of that I thought had a chance of gaining some recognition.


What do you feel you have gained from this experience?

It’s been affirming that I’m producing relevant work. It can be difficult as an artist working in isolation to get critical feedback. I’m lucky that I have a few strong voices in my life that offer criticism but getting positive feedback is encouraging. So, while not getting into an award can feel like a knock back (which in reality it isn’t, it’s a competition) getting chosen can feel very affirming and a nice perk for working hard.

It’s been affirming that I’m producing relevant work. It can be difficult as an artist working in isolation to get critical feedback.

Would you recommend it and encourage others to enter? If so, why?

If you would like to throw your hat in the ring, I would definitely encourage other artists to give it a go. Remember that if you don’t get in it’s because the competition is fierce and not necessarily a reflection of the quality of your work. An artist should never rely solely on art award feedback as an indication of the strength of their work.


Winning a place in the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize means you’ll be making a new piece for inclusion in the Representational Modern Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize exhibition at Modern Eden Gallery. Can you give us any details on what you’ll be making for the show?

My painting ‘ONE’ from my new Awaken Series is a painting capturing the very moment after profound sadness begins to lift and you realise, you are still whole, you are not broken and there is a part of you that has not even been touched by the sadness. There is still grief on her face but there is also traces of wonder, hope and relief. 

“O N E” [Oil and 24kt gold on board, 500 x 400mm]

Which fellow prize winner are you most looking forward to exhibit with?

I’m a big fan of J Louis! I’m looking forward to seeing all the artist’s work though. It’ll be a knock out show.


On your site, I noticed some new 2018 floral paintings without your usual figural elements. Is this a new art series, will they be incorporated into future works?

I’ve been making florals and landscapes over the past two years, really for the first time in my career. I really enjoy the freedom to explore the paint and application methods without getting bogged down by detail and accuracy. It compliments my figurative work- another string to my bow, so to speak. I will be pulling these looser floral depictions into my work eventually.


You are described as being part of a contemporary art movement termed “Disrupted Realism”. Where do you see yourself and your artwork in this movement? How do you feel this movement will influence your future work, or more generally the art of the future?

It’s a funny thing becoming a part of a new movement that you felt was very unique to your own work, only to discover you are one of many who have begun to use certain working methods and modes of visual communication. I’m proud to be part of this group using a combination of realism and abstraction that when paired together, give an emotive quality difficult to capture in any other way. The movement itself hasn’t influenced my work- it should in fact be the other way around. I just make the work that flows from my dedication in the studio. It happens to now fit in a movement called disrupted realism.


What are some personal art goals you have for the coming 2019 year?

2019 will bring a slowing down of my practice, definitely not in less hours in the studio, but in more time spent developing and working on each individual painting. I’ve been bringing in more complex backgrounds that demand hours of attention alongside the figurative elements that are more traditionally painted and of course demand their own intensive crafting. It will be a year of producing my most outstanding work, focusing on producing each painting to the highest standard I can and then reflecting on each finished piece to see where I can grow and extend further. The aim in all of this is to be the best artist I can be, producing work of high value with insight, care and relevance for our changing world. I want my work to be a part of the change we so desperately need. My greatest hope is that people can see themselves in my work, and that in some way can move in the direction of being their best selves, in whatever way is most meaningful to them.

Republished from Beautiful Bizarre Magazine.