Briony Marshall was awarded Pangolin London’s prestigious sculpture residency in 2012 and her first UK solo show, Life Forming, was held at the gallery in 2013. By perfect happenstance the exhibition coincided with the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA, and Marshall’s DNA: Helix of Life is emblematic of the great achievements of modern science. Standing at over two metres tall this DNA molecule is constructed from over 600 human figures joined at the hands and feet each representing a different atom in the DNA. Made first in wax and then cast in bronze, the work demonstrates ambitious talent paired with a rather humbled view of society; that we must support each other as individuals to operate as a whole. The integrity of the structure depends on each figure playing its part and is a powerful representation of the interconnectedness of life.
Marshall’s fascination in trying to understand the building blocks of life heavily informs her sculptural practice. Chemistry and molecular science are strong themes within her work and she often explores the micro world of molecules through figurative sculptures that draw parallels and illuminate the anthropocentric macro world we inhabit as a society. Her science-inspired works are a humbling and awe-inspiring look at the fragility, beauty and complexity of human life.
Taking a rather unconventional route on her journey to become a sculptor, Briony Marshall first pursued a degree in Biochemistry at Oxford University before following her passion for art. Making the decision to move from laboratory to artist studio, Marshall’s science background has greatly influenced her artistic practice and she uses this unique viewpoint to explore the place of the human in the context of scientific doctrine. She lives and works in London.
Marshall and her work are held in high esteem by both the arts and science worlds. In 2015 she was awarded a FIRST@108 Public Art Award and in 2016 she has been selected as one of the 175 Faces of Chemistry by the Royal Chemistry Society to celebrate their 175th anniversary.