Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

About Marie

Marie Sivak teaches drawing at Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus.

Marie’s  maternal grandfather was a  sheet metal worker. One day he was making a child’s size snow shovel. He stood her in front of the bench grinder and she pulled the edge of the snow shovel across the rotating stone. Sparks flew. The shovel edge became shiny. It was a moment of awe and trust. In her early childhood somebody in the household was always doing a project from sewing or crocheting, watercolor painting, dissecting a frog, to  practicing music. These experiences lead to a curiosity and love of materials shaping her interdisciplinary approach to art making.  Her practice encompasses intimate drawings and objects to large scale installations, video, and sculpture. Impressions of text are submerged in graphite, watercolor, and ink, video is paired with carved stone, salt poured into sewn organza tubes, shredded health insurance documents and hospital sheets are stuffed into suspended pillows, nylon and magnets dangle in flexible lattices. Materials carry  meaning because of their physical characteristics and historical and cultural associations. Built on a feminist foundation  her work equalizes  the power and beauty of  materials historically associated with  men  with those  linked to women’s work. She uses her work as an artist to contemplate the poetry and the challenges of being a human being. Specific projects have explored the mind body relationship, memory, grief, cruelty and misogyny, and the relationship of the individual to society. She lives with her husband and daughter in Beaverton.


Marie Sivak received her BFA in Sculpture from the University of the Arts (Philadelphia,PA) and her MFA in Sculpture and Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA). Her work has been included in exhibitions in the United States, South America, Europe, and Japan. Notable Group exhibitions include: Dark and Stormy Night: Gothic Influence in Contemporary Art (Lehman College Art Gallery, curated by Bartholomew Bland, Bronx, NY 2017), Momentum: Women, Art, Technology, Institute for Women and Art, Rutgers University, NJ, 2015) Portland 2012: A Biennial of Contemporary Art curated by Prudence Roberts, (The Art Gym, Portland, OR and Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR 2013), Narrations at Nancy Margolis Gallery, (NY  2008). Solo exhibitions include Tenuous, Dan and Gail Cannon Gallery of Art Western Oregon University, Smokescreen, A.I.R. Gallery, curated by Charlotta Kotik, Brooklyn, NY 2012) as well as solo shows at Laura Russo Gallery and Contemporary Crafts Museum in PDX among others. Awards include the Ruth Chenven Grant for Visual Artists, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship, the Yeck National Young Sculptors Award, The Margo Harris Hammerschlag Award, Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship, and grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Sivak is the two-time recipient of Career Opportunity Grants from the Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation. She was nominated for a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 2014. Her work is in numerous private collections around the world. Public collections include Miami University in Oxford Ohio, the city of Volterra, Italy, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Recent commissions include a 1500 square foot site specific, suspended installation for the lobby of Facebook’s Seattle Offices.


Figurative Drawing Entangled with other figures and abstract forms and text.

Marie Sivak, Phantasmic Promontory, Mixed Media on Paper, From the Entanglements Series



Figurative Drawing Entangled with other figures and abstract forms and text.

Marie Sivak, Semantic Snare, Mixed Media on Paper, From the Entanglements Series