Undercover in the Age of Droplets

By Marsha Nouritza Odabashian | August 22, 2020

In ordinary times I create large paintings in an enormous studio in the South End of Boston. During the Covid-19 pandemic, however, I have been drawing, painting, collaging and photographing from a small room and a porch on the outskirts of the city. My work involves sociopolitical themes expressed through onionskin dye stains splashed onto canvas and paper.

The pandemic was upon us when the call for entries on the theme of droplets came from HallSpace Drawing Project 2020. The watery nature of the theme appealed to me and my work shifted direction. I created “Flurries,” a trilogy consisting of “Nozzles,” “Moon Drops,” and “Lunar Flurries.” Ubiquitous in the media and in our lives, droplets are rarely noticeable except through a telescope, a microscope or a magnifying glass, or when they form parabolas in the wake of water fountains, garden hoses and water pistols. On my daily walks I have become preoccupied with droplets that I spot in morning dew, sunrays, moon dust, and crashing ocean waves. I fastidiously avoided droplets in the form of spittle, tears, and blood out of fear that they might contain the dreaded red Coronavirus. This period of isolation has given me an opportunity to explore graphite, acrylic and ink in the creation of layers, transparency and movement of marks to evoke droplets: ever present, fearsome, peaceful.


“Uncertainty 1,” HallSpace Drawing Project, graphite/ ink/acrylic, 7.5 “ x 7.5” (2020)


“Uncertainty 2,” HallSpace Drawing Project, graphite/ ink/acrylic, 7.5 “ x 7.5” (2020


“Splash 1,” HallSpace Drawing Project. graphite/ink/ acrylic, 7.5” x 7.5” (2020)


“Splash 2,” HallSpace Drawing Project. graphite/ink/acrylic, 7.5” x 7.5” (2020)

Copyright © 2020 Marsha Odabashian
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  1. Philip Gerstein on August 23, 2020 at 12:51 am

    A beautiful sense of space, Marsha!

  2. Pamela Painter on August 23, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Marsha, these are wonderful tiny paintings–and I love your description of them as “ever-present, fearsome, and peaceful.” On instagram, the paintings look like they are in an artist’s book. Are they separate paintings? I remember our Sunday painting sessions with such fondness–and still have one of your unfinished books. And books by Robert and Christina and Emilia. I loved those gatherings and wish we could return to that time, that sense of community.

    • Marsha Nouritza Odabashian on August 23, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Pam, thank you for commenting! Yes, they are in 7.5” square booklets for the Drawing Project 2020 at a very exciting gallery called HallSpace in Dorchester. A requirement was that all of the artwork be done in the same type of booklet. They are two different paintings within the booklet. “Uncertainty 1” is the left side of the page and “Uncertainty 2” is the right side. Same with “Splash”. They can be viewed as one painting or two. I have fond memories of those Sunday afternoon, evening painting session as well. We had so much fun painting in those repurposed children’s books. And remember Alice, Tom and Sue! I miss those days. Count in if you ever decide to resume. Covid makes us appreciate community even more than ever. We’ll make a plan!

  3. Robert Dulgarian on August 24, 2020 at 9:58 am

    What stunning pictures! I particularly like the ambiguity about the represented or implied medium. Uncertainty 1 seems very submerged, while Splash 1 obviously implies a splash in a surface, and Splash 2 reminds me of an image from a cloud chamber. All in all a lovely set of responses to dire circumstances.

    • Marsha Nouritza Odabashian on August 24, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Robert! Thank you for your insightful comments. I love your image of the cloud chamber.

  4. Lola Koundakjian on August 25, 2020 at 5:18 am

    Love your work!

  5. Janice Okoomian on September 6, 2020 at 11:37 am

    These are beautiful and evocative, Marsha!

    • Marsha Nouritza Odabashian on September 6, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you so much, Janice! I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the watery, otherworldly aspect of the theme.

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