Marlene’s Perspective on Art

For Marlene art is a journey as in Constantine Cavafy’s poem “Ithaka”, where the journey is more important than the destination. Her art is introspective and reflective with impulses from reality, but relying on memory to modify it and interpret her thoughts. For her there should always be a balance between the emotional and the rational seeking harmony, thereby treading a thin line. This harmony is expressed in her landscapes and figures seeing the myth, the stories behind the subject. She sees her stillifes mostly as metaphorical self-portraits.

I paint the way I paint

For a long time I have been asking myself whether I should paint like some people have suggested that I should paint “for the market”, that is, making pretty pictures, something that is completely alien to me. I want the viewers of my paintings not only to enjoy them because they are pretty, but also because they make them think. Recently I came upon something that the great French painter Henri Matisse (1869-1954) said about the necessity of artists to be absolutely sincere in their work: “It is advisable first of all to acquire the habit of not lying, neither to others nor to yourself. That is where we have the drama of many artists today. They tell themselves: I am going to make concessions to the public, and, when I have enough money, I will work for myself. From that moment [on], they are lost … Watch out, then, for concessions.” (Flam, J.D. Interview with Degrand 1945. In Flam, J.D. 1978. Matisse on art. New York: E.P. Dutton, page 104.) This has put my mind at rest to paint the way I see fit to paint.

About “The Studio”
Marlene sees “The Studio” as a pivotal work because it marks the end of her painting in a fairly representational style and the beginning of her abstract period. The work is displayed on a group exhibition of the Stellenbosch Arts Association at the P J Olivier Arts Centre from 2 - 11 March 2018.

Marlene’s paintings at a group exhibition in Stellenbosch coinciding with the Woordfees (Afrikaans language festival) there from 2 - 11 March 2018

Memories of a Coastal Meander

These six small paintings (11 x 15 cm) emanate from a drive along the coast to the town of Hermanus where I took in the landscape and reworked it into the paintings. The sea’s ebb and flow symbolising time and perpetually creating new forms and rythms continue to fascinate me. That is why I return to the same coastline time and again. The paintings will be exhibited at the P. J. Olivier Art Centre 16 - 22 November 2017. The mini-exhibtion is shown under the auspices of the Stellenbosch Arts Association.

Marlene on her Art:

“I don’t want my paintings to be pretty pictures on a wall. I would like my paintings to tell a mini story every time they are being viewed and thereby grow on the viewer. For that reason I say that interacting with a painting is like a journey, not just for one day, but for an extended time. One could also compare the interaction with a painting to the reading of fairy tales, plays or poetry that can be re-read time and again, and every time something new is discovered in them that expands and enriches life. In other words, my paintings do not have a sell-by date. I would like my paintings to give a sense of quiet, of reflection, removed from the noise and humdrum of everyday life. They should expand and enrich the viewer’s life and should give the viewer a sense of wholeness.”

Here is a Youtube clip of Marlene working on a painting

Marlene’s works available at the Smelik & Stokking Gallery in The Hague, Netherlands have now been added to this website. This now brings together most of the works available. Happy hunting!

Katy and Marlene in the Studio

A happy Katy posing with Marlene in her studio after buying a painting to take to Chicago.

Work ‘grows’ on Client

The client wrote of the completed commission: “The more I look at it in different daylight the more I admire and enjoy it.” Marlene’s observation: “That shows that the client has as much of a journey in looking at the painting as I have in making it.”

Marlene Working on yet Another Commission

Marlene is working on another commission which she hopes to finish soon. Currently she is working towards the “just right feel”. After that the painting will go onto what she refers to as the “maturation line” until she is completely satisfied with it before releasing it to the customer.

Notes on “Through a Glass darkly”

This is a stillfe of a half-open window which does not reveal the outside. All it shows is the muted sky with reflections on the glass. The stillife shows the introspective thoughts of the painter captured in this enclosed space and cut off from the outside world. The title of “Through a Glass darkly” refers to this and takes the fact into account that we do not see everything clearly now, but may see it later as it truly is. Although the title refers to 1 Corinthians 13, verse 12, Marlene was inspired by the novel of the same title by the Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder.
The painting came into being through many layers of paint, scraped away and re-applied as Marlene’s thoughts developed until it reached its final form. In this sense the painting was a journey for her as well.