New BOP artist pushing the boundaries

The Incubator has launched a new year of art with Marilyn Muirhead’s first  solo exhibition.

Meeting the award-winning artist in the gallery is a pleasure; her smile and the colours she wears permeates the background art - the limes and mandarins evoking autumn ambience, the soft pervading mellowing of tones blending her own essence into the dyed thread and glowing paint around her.

Marilyn recently won the Emerging Artist award at the Tauranga Society of Artists competition after joining the society only a year ago, breaking the boundaries with a textile piece that has white ferns floating out of painted quilted fabric. It’s on display at the Incubator.

“Over the years I’ve experimented with new techniques and developed an original artistic style that incorporates textiles and paint, with a contemporary twist,” says Marilyn.

She has won national awards and been specially selected for exhibitions, including fine art galleries,  in New Zealand, Australia, France, Japan, USA and Canada. The public appeal of her work was clearly recognised in 2017 through the Viewer’s Choice Award for ‘Fallen Leaves’ at the NZ Quilt Symposium.

Daring to be different, Marilyn is passionate about pushing perceived limits.

“I have chosen to make portraits my signature art form at the moment, as it is the biggest challenge I can imagine,” says Marilyn, who used her children as subject matter.

“For a start it has to look like the subject, with correctly shaped nose and ears, and the eyes have to come to life to show their personality. But also, I need to catch a real likeness, this is the hardest thing to do, and I am enjoying the challenge immensely.”

With a background in interior design, Marilyn developed her skills with quilting, and now combines textiles and paint. Hanging in the gallery are dyed fabrics evoking themes of nature, with the ideas of connection and growth emerging. Images are subtly muted within the fibres, so as you stand in front of the panels you slowly become aware of a face and memories looking back.

Her hydrangeas, graphic Mauao images and abstract works using poured paint will appeal to a varied audience.

Marilyn has lived in various places around New Zealand before settling with her family in Tauranga about three years ago, attracted by the climate and vibrant lifestyle.

“I am thrilled to find there are so many enthusiastic and talented artists in the Bay of Plenty region to encourage and inspire, and have been very happy to be made to feel welcome into the Tauranga Society of Artists and the Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters.”

Marilyn’s first solo exhibition, which is being held in The Incubator, Historic Village is open every day and runs until January 22.

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