.‘Fluid Expression’: Artist Nina Temple at Marin MOCA

A larger-than-life visual art exhibition exploring the relationship between movement, music and the sheer personal magic of artistic expression is hanging in the Marin Museum of Contemporary

Art at this very moment. Marin’s creative-minded citizens are invited to come to the museum and enjoy the sights and sensations these featured pieces evoke when viewed.

The exhibition is titled “The Magic in Fluid Expression,” and it showcases the compelling works of one solo artist, a woman named Nina Temple. A total of 24 of Temple’s pieces are on display at MarinMOCA—each piece is wholly unique yet unified by the artist’s keen eye for combining color, movement and the true, undisputed essence of a creative translation of a soul’s breadth upon the page—or, in the case of Temple, pages as well as nine-foot tall hanging scrolls and mounted 2D wall structures.

“It’s hard to get into a museum, especially for a solo show, but I decided to just give it a shot,” explained Temple. “I tried last year, but didn’t get in. But this year…sure enough, I got a congratulations letter, and here we are.”

Temple lives along the central Californian coast, though she’s spent much of her life traveling to see new cities and experience new situations worldwide.

“I’ve been shown in seven museums, but this is my first solo museum show,” Temple said. “Really, if I die tomorrow, I’d like to be an artist who had recognition in one area rather than taking on the whole nation.”

Temple credits her lifelong interest in and passion for the arts to her parents, specifically the lived immersion she received from her art-centric family. Both of Temple’s parents were professional musicians of the highest caliber—her father was a composer, and her mother was a violinist and child prodigy.

“When I was younger, I always thought I was going to be a violinist, not a visual artist,” said Temple. “I would practice playing for hours each day. But when I was in the 11th grade, I was taking it so seriously because I was in the university orchestra, but my grades were dropping. And so my dad grounded me from the violin. I put it down and didn’t pick it up for oh…40 years?”

“I only went back to playing the violin again when I turned 60,” Temple continued, adding that she had her husband, Paul Temple, leave the house the first time she attempted to play because she didn’t want him to hear the “squeaking.”

“But it came back all at once and I couldn’t believe it, and it brought tears to my eyes. When I went back to it, it just immediately came back to me,” she recalled.

Music, it seemed, never really left Temple. And though she left home, studied visual art in college and married her high school sweetheart, the influence of her early passion for music is visible in her current artwork.

“Music gave me a certain kind of rhythm and pulse that I and my work wouldn’t have without it,” Temple said. “Just like we have our own heartbeat, this is the pulse of my work. My spirit. And there is a tremendous amount of fluidity and rhythm in it.”

Over the course of her life, Temple has lived in four countries: the United States, Italy, Canada and Germany. Between 1983 and 1986, Temple and her husband lived in Berlin after being placed there through his military career. Though the married couple left Berlin three years before the Wall came down, they were present for the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown of 1986, which occurred only 850 miles away in Russia.

“Historically, it was a very important time since the [Berlin] Wall came down in 1989,” Temple noted. “West Berlin was futuristic, East Berlin was historical, and they used to say that if the Wall ever came down it would be the most interesting city in the world.”

Temple enjoyed and actively participated in Berlin’s bustling artistic scene and even worked in the industry during her European stationing.

“I exhibited for years as an American artist and worked in Berlin for three years,” Temple noted. “And I was actually making a living off of it too.”

Each place, person and experience lent to expanding venues for creative expression at Temple’s fingertips. As a result, she has worked through interesting mediums such as photographic dye, sculpture, and even graphic and web design.

Upon returning to the United States, Temple opened Nina Temple Design and spent 26 years working with clients in Monterey, California, and in Maryland. Then, in 2015, she left her successful entrepreneurial endeavor for the ever-tempting siren’s call beckoning her to return to her passion for fine visual art—the same visual art currently on display at MarinMOCA.

“I’m working in ink now, ink on paper,” Temple explained. “With ink, I find that there are a lot of risks and challenges involved, which is a big part of why I love it.”

“My artistic process with these pieces is unique,” Temple continued. “I start with puddles of water on the paper and move them around to get the composition to a sort of starting point of what it will be, to see what’s balanced and what’s not and so on—then I start dropping ink into those puddles, and that’s my way of keeping the fluidity. So, I’ll do a pour at night, and when I come back in the morning, there’s usually a pleasant surprise waiting for me since I don’t know how the piece would turn out when I left it.”

The element of surprise, learning to work with unexpected results and not always expecting perfection from a piece, has been a huge part of Temple’s artistic process.

“Artists are vulnerable,” Temple explained “The minute somebody comes into your studio, you feel that. You have to have thick skin yet be very sensitive.”

“Trusting yourself as an artist is important, and I’ve noted that a lot of artists spend time trying to be something they’re not,” Temple concluded. “Trust your emotions. Trust the materials. Trust your foundations.”

‘The Magic in Fluid Expression’ exhibition is on display at MarinMOCA until March 31, so don’t forget to drop in before it’s gone. For those interested in seeing this or any of MarinMOCA’s upcoming exhibitions, visit the museum at 500 Palm Dr. in Novato or visit the MarinMOCA website at marinmoca.org. To see more artwork produced by Temple, visit her website at ninatempleart.com.

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