Artist Marilyn Kalish, a Massachusetts native, has been widely exhibited and is collected in prestigious international and national collections. Christie’s in New York has acquired one of her Ballet Russes and her Lady Macbeth has been installed at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA. Her work has also been chosen for the 2010 Florence, Italy Biennale. She continues to create beautiful pieces of art, both sophisticated and elegant.
More of Marilyn Kalish’s work can be viewed in person at the Vault Gallery in Great Barrington, Berkshires MA or the Lily Clifford Gallery in East Sussex, UK.
LUST FOR LIGHT: ARTIST MARILYN KALISH
Written by Amanda Rae Busch
Marilyn Kalish is a woman possessed. At least that’s what a visitor might think upon entering the artist’s Great Barrington, Massachusetts, studio-salon to find her assailing a pair of seven-foot-tall canvases with fistfuls of graphite pencils.
Clad in a crinkled, gunmetal-gray raw-silk robe over black wide-leg pants, Kalish windmills her arms in sweeping arcs, the sharp points of her tools scratching and tapping the expanse in a vigorous, passionate symphony. Kalish sways to an imaginary rhythm, her tightly shut eyes like the ebb and flow of passersby on the scorched Railroad Street sidewalk one story below.
She wiggles her fingers to make delicate lines within fluid figure eights—the lithe arm of a dancer, the strong arch of a petite foot—over and over and over again. A strand of pearls swings furiously from her neck. “It’s unpredictable,” she murmurs, breaking her meditation and softening her dark features from a scowl. “I want this thing to surprise me.” This thing is the almighty blank canvas, which Kalish has been confronting in such a manner for more than two decades. These two particular works-in-progress will morph rapidly into part of the artist’s ongoing Sensuality of Dance series, her most celebrated body of work, produced during a winter-long residency in the archives of Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts, in 2006, prefacing the legendary dance festival’s seventy-fifth anniversary.
Each is born on semi-translucent beaded mylar, a flexible polyester film also used to create high-performance boat sails and map overlays; strung about the Vault Gallery, Kalish’s intimate exhibition space named for its spot in the former Mahaiwe Bank building just around the corner on Main Street, the metallic dancers shimmer in the soft glow of overhead lighting and move with the gentle breeze produced by browsing visitors. Stephanie Kouloganis recalls being mesmerized upon wandering into the Vault Gallery four summers ago…..More on http://www.marilynkalishfineart.com/
THE WORCESTER PHOENIX
January 28 – February 4, 2000
JUNKYARD GOD: CAST-OFF ANGELS AND TOYS BECOME KALISH’S TREASURES
By Leon Nigrosh
The notion of time looms large in Marilyn Solomon Kalish’s work—in the conception and in the execution. Each of the nine wall-mounted assemblages, which are currently on display in the ARTSWorcester Gallery at Quinsigamond Community College, appears to have slowly grown from the pages of history almost by themselves.
These works, which look so deceptively simple, were, in fact, quite time-consuming to construct. Kalish spent hours wandering through two “secret” junkyards looking for things, anything that caught her eye. She would often find beauty and significance in cast-off items; and once back in her studio, she began to restore, arrange, and to rearrange her treasures until
they came together. The frameworks were built to exacting specifications, finished appropriately, and then all the disparate parts assembled.
The large centerpiece of the QCC show, Liaison, is so powerful for its combination of textures of soft fabric, smooth slate, and of coarse stone dust. It produces an intimate tête-à-tête between encrusted shards from two ancient chalices (which are actually bits of broken PVC pipe). For Clandestine, Kalish juxtaposed a smooth, slate surface on a plane of roughly scored and tinted-marble dust. On top of this, she has affixed a timeworn, brass effigy of two tiny cherubs posed in a secretive manner.
….More on http://www.marilynkalishfineart.com/
THE WORCESTER TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
December 10, 2000
Kalish’s Drawing Now It’s Own Reward
By Frank Magiera
It is probably fair to say that Marilyn Solomon Kalish’s favorite drawing at the moment is “Breathe,” the huge, majestic, invigorating smudge of charcoal that is the centerpiece of her latest exhibition at WPI’s George C. Gordon Library. The image is just the suggestion of a figure; arms outstretched; head thrown back; one leg about to take a giant step forward, perhaps, as the torso inhales expansively.
For Ms. Kalish the piece is not just defining but transforming. She views it as something of an artistic gateway through which she has finally passed after a lifetime of treating drawings as preliminary exercises in preparation for more substantial works of art.
“I’ve always sketched. I’ve always drawn since I was young,” Ms. Kalish said. “I didn’t place a lot of value on my drawings because, historically, they were the prelude to a more important piece.” Her outlook changed when she discovered wax and figured out how to use it in her drawings….More on http://www.marilynkalishfineart.com/
Marilyn Kalish “Making Bold Moves”
By Gwenn Mayers
Drawing is mark making to be sure, but it’s also “another kind of language.”* No matter their scale, their medium, or their function—preparatory or a final expression of a creative idea—drawings speak of intimacy and immediacy. Marilyn Kalish adds physicality, with un-choreographed dancers’ movements, to the language of drawing. The force of her work explodes, the edges of the paper barely containing forms, lines, colors and marks. You cannot look passively at her paintings and drawings, but, swept up by their movement, you enter them.
Sanctuary: The Power of Images.
The process of making art continually fascinates Kalish and informs all of her work. On her web site, www.marilynkalish.com, viewers can see the process unfold. I asked her to talk about her process.
Marilyn Kalish: The process is extremely important to me. I start out drawing, with my eyes closed. I stand close. I am feeling it, breathing it. I’m holding 15 or more pencils in each hand, using whatever pencils are in the studio and varying the pressure and tones of the marks. Moving fast and slow. Building. Eyes closed, head turned, that’s energy. I am trying to clear my mind, trick my psyche … I am trying to get out of my own way. I work for hours with my eyes closed. I enter the drawing. Then I am left with a large scribble, elegant, gritty lines. I leave the studio. After a while, I come back and sit with it. I wait until I see something that resonates. The process becomes a communal experience. The marks are informing me. There are clues. The editing just happens. I cant—and don’t—force the image. I don’t cover up the process; I want to see the experience, the energy. I am interested in physics; the idea of chaos and order is irresistible.
More on http://www.marilynkalishfineart.com/
GM: What is the future of the gallery?
MK: I am selective and I like to build slowly. Right now I represent ten artists and I like the idea of weaving in new artists, but slowly. I am surrounding myself with work that has quality and integrity. The goal is to have different works, have a dialogue. The gallery is a non-threatening environment and serious collectors as well as high school students are coming in. I have stayed ambitious in my work, which is a good place to place your ambition. In the worst case, you get to make art, the world may come or not. I am privileged every single day to do this. I have never known any guarantee that I can continue. I am not self-indulgent. It is the only thing I can do, I do it out of necessity.
Marilyn Kalish will have 3 paintings on exhibit in the 2005 Florence Biennale in December 2005. Her work is on exhibit at the Vault Gallery, located in the historic Mahaiwe Bank on Main Street in Great Barrington, MA and at the Image Gallery in Stockbridge, MA. For more information call: 413-644-0221 or visit www.vaultgallery.net.
*Richard Serra as quoted in the catalogue, Drawing is Another Kind of Language, Harvard University Art Museum, 1997.
THE LAKEVILLE JOURNAL
March 13, 2008
DRAWING, EYES CLOSED
ART: THE VAULT: JUDITH LINSCOTT
As I walk into the Vault Gallery in Great Barrington, housed in the former Mahaiwe Bank building, there’s a photo shoot going on, some French jazz, various people milling about, directions being given and flashbulbs going off.
This is a welcoming place. For, despite the busyness, I’m asked several times if I would like help or information.
The gallery is small and a bit quirky; quotes are painted on the walls, chairs are arranged for tete-a-tetes and potted orchids lend both beauty
My Mother s Garden
Through these veins runs a softness – from my fullest of existence, I dream of reclining into myself. From my spine, this sliver of silk, shall crumple and fade.
It is thought to be the end, when the rose embraces the decay. Often shunned, trapped beneath the black plastic lid of a garbage can, the roses’ beauty is lost? Within darkness it will coddle itself, the new yellow tone invited: in passing it can produce its own sunlight. Silk will respire and expire, warp wilts and the weft shrivels, the petals immortalize themselves. The petals of the rose cry at their own beauty. What all claim as perfection is merely the concept. The manifestation is too often forgotten; only the patient are rewarded by time. Once the eye has adjusted to darkness, the light emerging from the wax is fabled to bloom into the petals of the rose once more.
The series human rights is different from all the work that has come before, yet it is simultaneously a culmination of that which preceded it. Painted on dark, rich backgrounds, the faces and bodies are shown as if emerging from the darkness. It is not intended to speak directly to human rights in the modern, political sense, but rather it begs the viewer to think of the ideas of the human body as a source of Power, particular energy, radiance, and inherent complexity. this work speaks from a place of survival. The bright lights on darkened surfaces call forth the dichotomy of both hope and despair, which goes far beyond life today and extends itself to the entire history of the human condition. Shown without any contextualizing clothing or hair, these figures do not belong to any era; they float in the darkness, a beacon of light and, simultaneously, a reminder of that which is lost.
The finger marks are clear in the form of the figures and the shadows surrounding them. This personal touch draws a poignant trace of personalism and specificity into an otherwise hauntingly ambiguous ,the series human rights is different from all the work that has come before, yet it is simultaneously a culmination of that which preceded it. Painted on dark, rich backgrounds, the faces and bodies are shown as if emerging from the darkness. It is not intended to speak directly to human rights in the modern, political sense, but rather it begs the viewer to think of the ideas of the human body as a source of Power, particular energy, radiance, and inherent complexity. this work speaks from a place of survival. The bright lights on darkened surfaces call forth the dichotomy of both hope and despair, which goes far beyond life today and extends itself to the entire history of the human condition. Shown without any contextualizing clothing or hair, these figures do not belong to any era; they float in the darkness, a beacon of light and, simultaneously, a reminder of that which is lost.
The finger marks are clear in the form of the figures and the shadows surrounding them. This personal touch draws a poignant trace of personalism and specificity into an otherwise hauntingly ambiguous work. this work addresses all of humanity — this is not a mystical otherworld, it is drawn from a reality, and because it is my reality, it is my truth. This realization of the viewer is the final piece to the enigmatic puzzle of this work: It is the human condition to create, it is the human struggle to be polarized, but it is the human right to speak ones truth. to survive.
today, i give homage to elie wiesel. who won the nobel peace prize for his work with human rights. who fought for peace, human rights and simple human decency.
HORSES AND RYDERS
In motion existing with no future, no past
They remind me where I am going
Abreast to living
They wait for me
Life as we know it
Gentle and grounded
Letting go of all the things we try to control
Giving in to the gallop
Simplicity Grace Serenity
The guardian series is one that is particularly difficult to attach an explanation. Everything, even from the name, to the images, inspiration, and effects evades concise description. When people first see these images they often think of the winged figures before them angels, but this conclusion is not the intent of the work. This work, like all my work comes from deep within me, inspired by my own experiences and manifesting itself within my work. When I set forth to make a new piece I give myself over to the process. I must let go completely, or the work will never go beyond the limitations of a conscious mind. It is imperative that I allow my work to flow forth from me quickly, overpowering the psyche. I trust this process. I have been doing it for years. When my whole body enters into the work and I am open to whatever is about to come forth thMy drawings have always mattered to me. Their simplicity helps me to internally understand what is going on behind the marks, to understand process. And it is the process of making art that fascinates me most. The process begins with recognition, a trust in recognition. I first begin to make marks, varying pressures and tones—just drawing. If then I persevere, I see something personal, a clue, something that I recognize, and something that feels familiar and resonates unlike any other work I have seen before.
I leave the drawing alone. I leave the studio. I come back and spend time with it, getting to know it better. If it still surprises, I then look for more clues. Content begins to make itself known to me. The process becomes a communal experience. The drawing is giving me information: how to proceed and where to go. I am not interested in intellectual concepts. The work has to be experiential. I try to take significant moments in my life and draw them in a believable way. These drawings are pared down, just using mixed media.
at is when my work is able to be successful.
This ongoing work is about connection above all else. Portraiture is not an anonymous union of faces, quite to the contrary every work is an opportunity for truth to manifest itself. As an artist, there is a compulsion to express. Everything that is encountered is fuel to add to that creative drive. In this digitized world of disconnection in which millions of people hide their pain behind screens, both literal and metaphorical, there is so much need that is untouched upon. This is a time when not many people are listening and paying attention, but there is so much fear and so much pain. series _ Portrait is a genuine attempt to allow the figure to reach out and establish connection and open a dialogue stemming from an authentic desire to simply be of true help. These portraits hope to touch on something in the human condition that allows individual people and people on a universal scale to survive through the incredibly trying situations that they are faced with.
MYSTERIOUS LIFE OF PEACOCKS
Until now few have known about the mysterious life of peacocks. Centuries of intriguing clues are coming to us only now.
MYSTERIOUS LIFE OF PEACOCKS
This exhibit of paintings presents a surprising story that illuminates the gorgeous and seductive powers of their secretive world.
Enter the delightful and mysterious Life of Peacocks: these regal and iconic creatures have inspired the imagination of countless philosophers, scientists and artists.
These paintings and drawings attempt to capture their mythical and glorious nature.