Abstract painting can thrust us into the unknown, immersing us in the midst of liminal visual and emotional experiences, without fixed name or context. This kind of art is full of risk and unexpected reward, asking of the viewer to take a fraught journey right along with the artist.

Anne Marchand’s paintings transport us into virtual worlds that form themselves before our eyes. She presents visions of a reality that are alive with shifting space, moving color, and animated lines. These phenomena are embodied in the material reality of paint, along with a range of materials embedded in the work’s surface. 

In Marchand’s work over the past ten years, the emotional range, poetic import, and inner structures have evolved significantly. What remains consistent is this artist’s pursuit of a quality of mystery and sensuousness in ever-changing scenarios of transformation.

A decade ago, Marchand’s work was strongly inflected by emphatic gestures, implying cosmic horizons and elliptical orbits. In the past five years, the paintings have developed with a great sense of expressive freedom and formal invention. Arcing lines of energy and an underlying sense of geometry are now constantly being interrupted by new, intervening passages of color and form. 

For Marchand, the imaginal domains that she creates are made of disparate impulses, which together realize a new, exuberant experience. As in a dream, one sequence can overtake the previous one, with hints of imagery and directional signs persistently making themselves known. We can think of these paintings as evocations of the artist’s consciousness, infused with the physicality of the body, the call of memory, and the sensation of color.

In recent works, paint appears in thick swaths, thin veils, rivulets, and in flows of enamel, ink, and acrylic. The interacting of differing viscosities forms liquid fields, reminiscent of weather systems and of biological growth. Marchand allows the poetic association in her paintings to arise naturally from the transit between above and below, the winding path, and the dissolving structure. There are the smaller incidents of patterned fabric, glass beads, along with stenciled words and diagrammatic images. And enlivening everything is color, emerging in multifarious ways: like a blush in a cloud, a tint in water, a harmonic chord, or a glowing fire.


- John Mendelsohn



Anne Marchand was born in New Orleans in 1950 and her early interest in art was nurtured during her Catholic grade school years and later in high school. She went on to major in art at Auburn University, graduating with a BA in 1971, and then earned an MFA from the University of Georgia in 1975. Her early artistic focus was the figure, and she was especially drawn to the work of Francis Bacon for his expressive paintings of the human body.


Marchand’s other early influences include 20th century modernist painters, the Abstract Expressionists, and the work of Carl Jung, with his reflections on dream imagery and psychological states. She credits her upbringing in New Orleans for her sensitivity to, “a sense of awe at the power and majesty of nature.” The art of other cultures has been an important inspiration, particularly the petroglyphs and the sacred practices of the Native Americans of the Southwest, which informed three series of works and related exhibitions in the 1980s.


During the 1990s, Marchand worked in a variety of mediums on paper in loose gestural strokes, using symbols from the Southwest, nature, and dance movements. In 2001, she won a commission for a public art project in Washington, DC (she has lived there since 1978), a large-scale mural based on her Cityscape paintings, and other public projects would follow.


In 2005 Marchand’s Ellipsis paintings, with their arcing lines and vivid color, expressed her desire to create “cosmoscapes”, inspired by deep space. Mystical themes came to the fore in the paintings, stimulated by readings by Garcia Lorca, Kandinsky, and Rumi. Travel to India brought a range of new color palettes and fabrics that she incorporated into her work.


Beginning in 2010, Marchand began experimenting in paintings with acrylic mediums and interference and pearlescent pigments. With these materials, qualities of radiance and light became active metaphors reflecting an inner state of being. Images of planets from the Hubble telescope inspired the painter to introduce circular imagery into her work. The nebulas and galaxies suggested biological structures, and Marchand realized the connection between space and the body as manifestations of the same universal energy.


In a series of small works beginning in 2013, Marchand investigated layering paint and other materials embedded in the surface. At the beginning of 2016, with a residency at the Project Space in Mt. Rainier, MD, her work increased in scale, using a process driven by the flow of liquid paint. The new work is underpinned by a structure of geometric fabrics embedded under translucent paint, anchoring paint and charcoal marks, thread, glass beads, and other elements.


Selected Bibliography

March 2, 2020  "Stephanie Ann Roper Gallery Presents, Anne Marchand: Recent Abstractions," East City Arts

February 22, 2020 "Otherworldly Paintings on Exhibit in Roper Gallery," Cumberland Times-News

2019 Mencia, Cecilia, "Anne Marchand, Organic, Zenith Gallery," DC Trending Magazine, Summer 2019

February 21, 2019. Mack, Tom, "Artist's recent abstractions showcased at the Morris," Aiken Standard
January 26, 2019  ArtDaily, "Recent Abstractions by Anne Marchand," opens at the Morris Museum of Art"

December 2018  Jenkins, Mark, “In the Galleries: Traveling Full Circle,” Washington Post
December 2018  Clements, Michael, “3 Artists Following in the Footsteps of Legendary Sam Gilliam,“ 
Capitol File Magazine 
March 8, 2018  Wilkins, Lorenzo, “ArtLife/LifeArt with Anne Marchand,” Video
Dec 7, 2017  Jenkins, Mark, “Show at American University invokes the ‘Eternal Feminine,’ Washington Post (cover reproduction) 
November 16, 2017  Hartigan, Philip A., “A View From the Easel,“  Hyperallergic (cover reproduction)

October 2017  Hauser, Andi, "Superfierce: Empowering Female Artists," WUSA9 TV

October 2017  Washingtonian, "Superfierce Kicks Off Month-Long Interactive Exhibit of 30+ Fearless Female Artists"

April 2017  Goldberg, Claire, "Short But Sweet: Art of Legacy Pop-Up," Georgetown Voice (reproductions)
Feb. 9, 2017  Ryce, Walter, "A Carmel response to the Trump administration has D.C. connections," Monterey County Weekly

September 2016   Magner, Jim, "Artist Revisit: Anne Marchand," Art and the City, The Hill Rag (reproductions)
"Placemaking Art, Anne Marchand, Westminster Playground Mural," CODA magazine, 2015 (reproductions)
2014   "Joseph Campbell, The Artists Way," Catalogue, Celadon Arts, 2014. pp. 28-29. (reproductions)
2014  "New Exhibit, Into the Void," Porter Contemporary, Progressive Pulse, 2014. (Video Interview)
2014  "Abstract Expressionism Revisited, Juror Anne Marchand in Dialogue, " The Art League Gallery
2013  Colucci, Emily, "Anne Marchand," ArtVoices Magazine, Winter. 2013, pp. 24-26. (cover, reproductions)
2013 "Washington Art Matters: Art Life in the Capital 1940-1990," Washington Arts Museum, p. 164
2013  Rousseau, Claudia, "The Essentials of Painting Seen in Three Local Exhibits," Gazette Post (reproduction)
2013  "Pablo Picasso, 40 Years Later," Blouin Artinfo, Video feature (reproduction)
Landau, Lauren, "Acrylics, Wood Sculpture and Mixed Media at Blackrock," WAMU Art Beat, 2013
2013  Jenkins, Mark, "Amy Lamb, Anne Marchand," The Washington Post, (reproduction)
2013  Magner, Jim, "Anne Marchand, Evolve Urban Arts Project," The Hill Rag (reproductions)
2011  Calamaio, Cody, "Paintings by Anne Marchand Explore Turning of the Universe," The Gazette
2011  Heuser, Tara, "Harmonious Environment in Universe," The Pink Line Project, 18 Jan. 2011.
2011. Oreste, Cecile, "Anne Marchand Embraces the Element of Surprise," Interview, Borderstan
December/January 2010  Hall, Kim, "Anne Marchand, Connecting With Her Community," Art Calendar Magazine  (cover, reproductions)
2010  Thadani, Dhiru, "The Language of Towns & Cities," Rizzoli Publishing, (mural reproduction)
May 2009  Brown, Deneen, "Of Bricks and Beauty, Murals Feed the Urban Soul," Washington Post Magazine