Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An Interview with artist Marilyn Walters

 'Last Light' has been extended until 30th May
We had a chat with Marilyn about her show at Sweets Workshop, which will run from 18th March until 30th May. Marilyn’s exhibition ‘Last Light’ uses the motif of the setting sun to explore the playful interaction of light on different surfaces and objects.

What can the viewer expect to find?   
I hope the viewer will be moved and intrigued by these small works and will find in them joy, wonder and a sense of fun as well as the more sombre aspects of the fading light. I have tried to combine the emotional with the whimsical, the majestic with the minute. Although, throughout my career, I have mainly worked on a large scale I have retained an interest in fragmentation; shards of pottery, traces of human presences in the landscape, fragments of things remembered, recorded for whatever reason. Some of the pieces in this show date back to earlier  encounters with the tiny gestures that make up the whole.

Why the setting sun?
There is a timelessness associated with the sun set.  At any given time an infinite number of sunsets are taking place all over the planet. The fading light has many meanings. Some may see the sunset as an end, a closing, a morbidly mysterious event. Others will find in the last blazing splashes of intense light gathering on the horizon, about to plunge into the deepening shadow beyond, Nature’s ultimate performance. 

At the same time the enduring azure twilight of an English summer evening, brings a new meaning to the idea of the last light of the day. The purple infinity, melancholic softness, the seasonality, holds the promise of a new day yet to come. 

Why use everyday objects?       
These are both scaled down versions of everyday objects and small objects that are so familiar in our everyday lives as to be almost invisible. They combine interesting surfaces with playful reversals of scale. For instance there is a note of absurdity in placing a sunset inside a small box or a number of images of sunsets in a miniature suitcase. But light touches everything in its’ path and it changes every thing it touches, however humble.

What challenges did I find in creating the pieces?
Joyful ones, for the most part. We are dangling here between the conventional paint on canvas aesthetic and something else that might be closer to Pop Art or the souvenir, than say Turner’s wonderful light- saturated world or Monet’s shimmering surfaces. Indeed witnessing the sunsets themselves in Hampshire and Scotland as well as in Sydney, Uluru and Perth was both information gathering and collecting but it was not about recording the thing, but the moment, that fragment of light that somewhere down the track, emerges  and repositions itself.

The biggest challenge was presented (and solved)by the space itself, by Sweets Workshop. I wanted to bring the sunset indoors, into an intimate space, a space that draws the viewer into the surfaces of the pictures and objects and does not endorse the long distance Picturesque stance. Sweets Workshop was perfect. 

Whose artwork do I enjoy?
The list is too long. I tend to respond to what I’m looking at, at what is on at the Galleries or the Movies. This Summer we have been treated to two major Pop Art or Pop Art inspired exhibitions plus a controversial film on the life and art of William Turner. I enjoyed both.
I remain a devotee of both Monet and Antoni Gaudi and of David Hockney. Monet will always be the painter of light. Gaudi’s fragmented world will continue to puzzle  and delight us. David Hockney’s eccentric fragmented installations and shattered landscapes continue to amuse and his incredible draughtsmanship, to inspire.   

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