Marilyn Levine

About the Artist

Marilyn Levine was born Medicine Hat, Alberta in 1935 and grew up in Calgary, Alberta. She received a Bachelor and a Master of Science with a major in chemistry, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1957 and 1959 respectively. Levine became interested in  ceramicsPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  while working in a Regina, Saskatchewan studio in the 60s.  In 1969 she moved to Berkeley, California and received a Master of Arts degree in 1970 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1971 while studying at the University of California, Berkeley.  Levine taught art at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, and at the University of California, in Berkeley.  After moving to Berkeley in the 70s, Levine lived the rest of her life in California where she died of cancer in 2005.

Levine applied her knowledge of chemistry to her art practice and produced a variety of highly realistic surfaces and forms. Myrna Oliver explains this further by stating,

Appraising Levine's  ceramicPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  versions of workmen's jackets, [writer Leah] Ollman noted: ‘They do, indeed, have the persuasive weight and supple ripples of leather. They are scraped and cracked in just the way and in just the places that long-worn leather garments tend to be. The same hyperrealism, as well as  narrativeRelating to the telling of a story, or the telling of events, etc.  pull,’ the reviewer continued, ‘work their wonders in Levine's bags and purses. In their native material, these satchels and shoulder bags would be too ordinary to merit special interest. Rendered in clay, they become objects of fascination, meticulous and loving portraits of the everyday. (Oliver, 2005)

Levine was part of a group of Saskatchewan artists like Joe Fafard, Victor Cicansky, David Thauberger and Jerry Didur (all presented here on the ARTSask website) who used  clayMud; moist, sticky dirt. In ceramics, clay is the basic material, usually referring to any of a certain variety of mixtures of such ingredients — fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet, brittle when dry, and very hard when heated. There is a temperature with ceramic clays at which their particles fuse (vitrification), and this is most commonly controlled by heating (firing) them in a kiln. The most common types of ceramic clays are earthenware (terra cotta when fired, terra cruda when not), stonewares, and porcelain. (Artlex.com)  as a sculptural medium. She, like her many contemporaries, earned many awards and commissions over the years of her art practice, and in 1998 Levine had a  retrospectiveAn exhibition of work by a senior artist representing all the stages of the artist’s career.  exhibition at the MacKenzie Art Gallery.

 


Interview with Timothy Long - Funk Art and the Regina Clay Movement
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning