Linda Marrinon

1959 | Melbourne, Australia

Australian contemporary painter and sculptor.

Linda Marrinon has exhibited nationally and internationally since the mid-1980s. L. Marrinon is an artist of quiet and enduring practice renowned for shunning the media spotlight, echoed in the elegant poise of the figurative statuettes for which she is best known. L. Marrinon attracted critical acclaim shortly after graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne in the 1980s. In the early years she embraced wry appropriation and comic-strip humour, experimenting with the assemblage of found objects, and combining bold graphic imagery and flat text paintings to craft her own cheeky mode of feminist satire. Hey Waitress (1987) is a large painting of a dramatically cropped female hip and bottom falling off the edge of the frame and leaning over an assumed table in a brash red miniskirt. It employs a Pop Art sensibility, using the familiar visual language of hand-painted advertising that recalls a time before multinational corporations became the status quo. In a tongue-in-cheek way, the painting draws attention to the universally uncomfortable and often compromising experience of dealing with sexist slurs as a woman working in the hospitality industry.

By the late 1990s L. Marrinon made the move to figurative sculpture. Unperturbed by artworld trends, her sculptures are timeless in their ability to excavate historical figures and social types. In Woman of Albert, France, 1916 (2019), her largest work to date, she recalls a well-known story in her own idiosyncratic way. This crumbling scene reads like a contemporary relic of buttery yellow and pink tinged plaster and terracotta. A large frontal figure, all Regency glamour and class, holds the viewer’s gaze from under the shadow of her hat, while a dramatic turn of events unfolds behind her on the edge of a lumpy mountainous form and structure. Across the tableau, careful attention to detail is sporadic: the central figure is immaculately carved and delicately coloured, while the world around her is intentionally underworked and crumbling around her feet. L. Marrinon’s works draw us into an open-ended and other-worldly space of ambiguity and suspension, where meticulously rendered figures embody closely observed historical references, while also inviting us to contemplate the act of making by evoking physical traces of the artist’s fingertips and exposed areas of raw materiality.

Kylie Banyard

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring

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