MARILYN WENKER

Artist's Statement

Since the 1970s I have exhibited my work in the US and abroad.  In earlier years, I primarily focused on process-oriented large-scale abstract painting.  Although I was concerned with abstraction, there was a strong figurative impulse in the work with shapes and forms often relating to a fractured human skeletal structure. 

  While the shape of my work has occasionally taken different forms, there has been a narrative thread throughout.  Most often the themes address human sexuality and vulnerability, but also examine ideas about power as it relates to the arts and artists. 

  In the early 1980s in Los Angeles, while I continued to exhibit paintings, I also moved into the areas of installation and multi-disciplinary performance.  With installation, utilizing salvaged and new materials (high and low-tech), industrial and natural, I built repeating forms presenting a diseased version of traditional landscape gardens -- destructive human intervention and its impact on the environment.  The performances explored the ideas of power (real estate), and the artist’s role (culpability) if any, and how it is, or may be, reflected in the work.

  To the present time I remain interested in ideas of power/control and human frailty.  Most recently I have attempted to highlight these ideas in paintings through the use of animal-like figures, and popular cartoon characters frequently deprived of gravity.  The work is often whimsical in an attempt to unsettle the viewer. 

  I was awarded a seven week studio residency at the Saltonstall Foundation for Arts in upstate New York, which provided an opportunity for me to develop new work and explore new ideas.