Marylyn Dintenfass: Painted Anthology, a survey exhibition of the artist’s major themes from the last several years, opens August 24 at the Morrison Gallery, The University of Minnesota, Morris. Dintenfass, internationally known for her paintings, sculpture, installations and prints, has emerged over the last four decades as a leading contemporary artist. Her work is in collections in Europe, the Middle East and Asia and in major public collections in the United States including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Cleveland Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Her work has been the focus of monographs by Lilly Wei (Marylyn Dintenfass Paintings), Aliza Edelman (Marylyn Dintenfass Parallel Park) and Scott Indrisek (Marylyn Dintenfass Drop Dead Gorgeous), as well as reviews by Blouin ArtInfo, ARTNews, and The Huffington Post. Her 2011 and 2013 exhibitions at Driscoll Babcock Galleries were both recognized by Modern Painters Magazine as among the top 100 exhibitions worldwide.
Dintenfass has always had an innovative approach to materials and technologies when creating her art. She was an invited guest speaker at 11 Mac World Conferences in San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. between 1993 and 1998. She has taught in Israel, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Canada and in the United States at Parson’s School of Design. Dintenfass’ work has been included in group exhibitions at the Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth and at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. This is the first solo exhibition of her work to be seen in Minnesota since her 1994 Clay into Print exhibition at Hamline University.
Painted Anthology is a selection of Dintenfass’ work from the past several years dealing with dichotomies of candy, muscle cars, music, beautiful yet deadly plants and more recently, the architectural oculus. Her titles are often provocative paths into the inspiration that generated each painting, and each series of paintings. An underlying theme is that “things are not what they seem,” meaning that each subject she chooses suggests one thing while implying another.
Dintenfass’ 2009 Good & Plenty, Juicy series focused on the brilliant liquid colors that give candy a luscious aesthetic and sensuous character. In LEMON LIME LICK, for example, a palpable stickiness and juiciness is evident in her imagery. Such visceral potency conjures the pleasure of eating while simultaneously revealing our conflicting emotional connection to candy as gratifying indulgence and seductive health hazard.
Works from Souped Up/Tricked Out, a 2010-11 series, are inspired by Dintenfass’ long and complex love affair with muscle cars as objects of desire, freedom and individuality. Her painted sleek lines and polished colorful surfaces evoke the sensuous curving forms of muscle cars. The heady postwar collision of car culture, rock ‘n’ roll and sexuality provides a critical cultural and social context for machines that are both beautiful and deadly. The multi-paneled oil painting NO PARTICULAR PLACE TO GO—named for the 1964 Chuck Berry song that describes a night of cruising in pursuit of sexual fulfillment—makes this connection explicit. In this work elliptical rings race like spinning tires over Dintenfass’ lustrous surfaces, their oblong gestural thrust evoking reckless speed and powerful roaring engines.
Interest in the expressive intersections between visual art and music has been constant throughout Dintenfass’ long career. A THOUSAND KISSES DEEP, 2012 recalls on a grand scale the intimate love ballad of Leonard Cohen, while TANGLED UP IN BLUE is derived from Bob Dylan’s dazzling musical epic. Here the similarities of words used to describe color and music are given an intertwined visual presence.
Work from Dintenfass’ newest body of work, Oculus, further develops her personal odyssey, her anthology of imagery and ideas that are central to her creative experience and expression. The full series of Oculus paintings are making their New York debut in Dintenfass’ September solo exhibition at Driscoll Babcock Galleries. While each chapter of Dintenfass’ work has stood on its own, this anthology brings together a selection of major works that provide an overview of the artist’s gestural mark making, her uncanny sense of color and her diverse use of circles and oculi as both an image and a symbol of her formidable visual vocabulary.
Painted Anthology continues through October 15 with a reception and gallery talk by the artist scheduled for October 1. The gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9am to 8pm; Friday, 9am to 6pm; and Saturday, 1pm to 4pm. The Morrison Gallery is located on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Morris.