The Art of Marilyn Reynolds
Indeed, Marilyn Reynolds has many things to say to us. Her work is at once a poem, a cry, and a song. She involves us far beyond painting technique in a world where there is no longer any distinction between soul and body, between reason and emotion; a dream world, pure and sensual, made up, it seems to me, of images and symbols born in the sub-conscious or semi-conscious between sleep and waking. Fear, anguish, love, fertility, life diverse and multiple are the themes which engage her—themes which concern all of us.
I acknowledge that it is for me a great satisfaction to be in the presence of an artist who is a master of her profession and her techniques. It is indeed the guarantee that there will be nothing said to us which is artistically indifferent.
— Paul Bressol, former Director, Louvre Museum, Paris, France, 1971
There is no critical vocabulary for Marilyn Reynolds’ paintings. They are gravely ceremonial yet vulnerably direct, almost commanding silence. They carry all the risk of art, out at the end of the tether where strength and vulnerability obey the open eye.
Some of them seem “mysterious,” but only in the way that Gauguin’s “Spirit of the Dead Watching” is mysterious—because there is mystery that we are freed to look at. The astonishing figures that emerge—bird, plant, child, animal, stark or elusive—seem to be neither “symbols” nor “dreams” nor “metaphors.” The images that arise in her paintings are the ideas. Any ideas that one might have about them seem irrelevant.
Like all her work, her paintings are strong but never brash, tender but never sentimental, sensitive but never squeamish, and above all else—very, very brave.
— Leon C. Yost, International Documentary Photographer, Art Critic
Marilyn Reynolds is a wonderful artist, a grand artist lush in color and life relationship. She is capable of commanding space in a warm total way, giving that juicy life-love which the greatest painters offer. She has consistent and dedicated work habits (I have seen her develop three of her paintings over months at the Athena Foundation in L.I.C., NY) and her works have a natural grand quality. Certainly one of the best living painters in the world, Reynolds incorporates in her paintings the animistic and coloristic forms on a grand scale (with which she is easy, not forced nor overblown), and her composition with the animal mystic passion gives her art that extra dimension, that relationship to life which is vital.
I completely and totally recommend Marilyn Reynolds for any grant or prize which the cultural establishment may offer.
— Mark di Suvero, Sculptor, Co-Founder of the Athena Foundation
Marilyn, I can’t stop thinking about the paintings. In my head I keep associating them with Bach, and with the late Van Gogh. I don’t know why. When I try to think of “labels” or titles for them I keep coming up with musical terms. Beginning with SOLO, then ADAGIO, then LARGO, and finally FUGUE. In that order I think. They haunt me visually, but I can only find musical metaphors for them. The same thing applies (with me) to Goya’s black paintings and the Van Gogh blackbirds. And yet I find your paintings more grand, slow, and dignified than bleak—more breaking through beyond pessimism. I can’t explain what I mean, obviously. As usual, words don’t do.
I had a dream the other night that you had painted a long and universal scroll with all the words on it, all in various sizes and colors and shapes, and some of the words were in Hebrew, some in Arabic, some in Finnish, or Sanskrit or Turkish or Japanese. And I spent much of the dream trying to decipher the meaning of the universe from the painting, and despaired of a poem to express it. But there was a sculpture that would do it. And the sculpture was a small round gray pebble that contained it all.
— James Lowell McPherson, Novelist & Poet