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Marilyn Koop: Retrospectives

Marilyn Koop : A Retrospective

March 21 – May 5, 2013
Opening Reception – Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 pm
Curated by Phil Irish

Marilyn Koop’s aesthetic and personality have shaped the look and culture of Wellington County. While her murals and design work elevate the streetscapes of Elora and Fergus, her creative passion has touched many disciplines and contexts. Opening a year after she succumbed to cancer, this retrospective exhibition brings together key works spanning her career. Her works are marked by a delirious love of colour and pattern, a deep compassion that situates art in the midst of community, her wit and joy of life.

Early work from Newfoundland includes a series of woodcut prints. Depicting ocean wildlife, an iceberg, and children combing the beach for treasures, these works already display her playfulness, her sharp graphic sense, and a turn toward story.

Marilyn’s vibrant paintings form the core of the exhibition. These works are characterized by bold still lives that pulsate with rhythm and pattern. She applied this sensibility to narrative paintings that often reflected the complexity of family life, as well as to more abstract works where pattern is given centre stage.

The exhibition includes work from Keepsake, a series of photographic “portraits” without faces. In each image, a pair of elderly hands holds a single item that is resonant with memory and meaning. Most of the participants in the project were living at the Wellington Terrace. Marilyn was deeply involved in the care of her aging parents, which gave rise to this project. She wanted to encourage us “to slow down and contemplate what a long life can mean, and to value the wisdom our elderly can impart to us.”

Marilyn Koop was an artist, illustrator, and event organizer who has had an indelible impact on Wellington County, ON, as well as Saint John’s, NL. She studied at the Ontario College of Art, was a formative member of Eastern Edge Gallery in Saint John’s, and is celebrated for her graphic design work which included award-winning posters for Theatre and Company. Marilyn was a cultural catalyst: as an concert and event organizer, a key member of the Village Idiots, and a curator of the World’s Smallest Art Gallery, she expanded the cultural depth of the region.

The Minarovich Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. Saturday and Sunday, 12noon – 4pm. Closed holidays.