Photo of Marjorie Minkin © Kim Indresano
In the mid-nineteen eighties in the desire to further my exploration of translucent color and the effects of light and shadows, I began to make painted works using Lexan, a clear industrial plastic. I mold the sheets of Lexan by hand using different sources of heat to warm the material enough to bend and stretch it until it develops a shape I am pleased with. Each individual layer and each final Lexan work is unique in shape.
I may use a single layer of the formed Lexan as the final support for the finished painting. I then paint it on both sides with acrylic resins. Often I combine many layers of the molded Lexan, overlapping them until a multi-dimensional structure is created. Each of these layers is painted individually in response to the previous layer until the piece is complete. The sections for each multi-layered work are joined together with translucent Lexan rivets. Most of these works are wall reliefs. I also make some as table pieces.
My paintings express motion and interactivity through the effects of light and color. They are interactive with the wall they hang on through the reflected shadows; they are interactive with the light source on them that changes the works’ appearances depending on the position and quality of the light; and they are interactive with the viewer’s vantage point. As one’s physical position changes relative to the works, images appear as different aspects of the works become illuminated. The paintings are a metaphor for our interactivity with the world and our changing perceptions relative to our changing perspectives.
Marjorie Minkin interview with Charles Guiliano.
In 2014 the Eclipse Mill Gallery in North Adams MA hosted an exhibition featuring my works on Lexan.
Eclipse Mill, North Adams' loft view
CC 1 2008, acrylic on Lexan 32" x 33" x 32"
photo credit: Kelly Lee
“Minkin’s transparent, rippling shapes detach stroke and gesture from the flat surface and launch them into space, as if she were deconstructing painting by making its components both more tangible and less substantial. The contradiction is strengthened by transient effects of shadow and projected color, which alter according to our viewpoint and the lighting conditions, The wall plane behind Minkin’s paintings can play an active part in the way we read her work, both as the carrier of these transient effects and as a foil to the articulations of the Lexan. Minkin’s concerns seem to be those of an artist dedicated to abstraction, yet because of their human proportions and their swelling forms, many of her Lexan “reliefs” conjure up potent associations with the body. The tension between the transparency and the substantial presence of the Lexan, the assured brushmarks and disembodied color is intensified by these echoes of the torso and its insistent presence.”
Extreme Possibilities, Catalogue, 2009
New York, NY
the mid-eighties, Minkin has worked simultaneously on the Lexan
wall pieces and the acrylic canvases. In many ways they can be seen
as two different approaches, although some of the process and certainly
much of the artistic vision overlaps. In both, transparency and
the rendering of light is a primary goal but it was only until recent
developments in the technology of acrylic mediums and through experimentation
that Minkin could achieve the translucency she was seeking in her
canvas work. She has expanded her practice of suspending colored
pigments in clear resins on the plastic to her paintings on canvas
to accomplish this surface transparency."
"In the Lexan work and the acrylic paintings, Minkin's interpretation
of the world is both intuitive and rational. Her process relies
upon skilled technical capabilities and informed decision-making,
yet incorporates the possibility of chance. These techniques take
full advantage of the properties inherent in the materials--such
as the malleability of the heated plastic and the flow of the poured
acrylic mediums--to evoke the forces of nature, giving viewers the
opportunity for their own intuitive response."
W. White Gallery, Portland, Maine
"Marjorie Minkin explores the effects possible through the interaction
of light with her materials. Her acrylic paintings, on either canvas
or heat formed Lexan [clear polycarbonate plastic], use the vocabulary
of abstraction to express movement and natural forms. The paintings
may allude to the human figure and landscape, yet rarely so overtly
as to become truly "representational works." Our perception of form
and color...reflected and refracted, applied or implied...shifts
as we move or the light changes."
Installation view of "Eclipse" at The National Gallery in Prague, Czech
"Marjorie is one of our most original painters and has created many wonderful things over the past 30 years. What makes her work important? I’d say first, she has drawn the logical conclusion that the new plastic paint suggests a plastic support as a way to make a more physically homogenous art work. This has been on the agenda of post war, avant garde painting at least since Ron Davis’ all plastic pictures of the later 1960’s. Of course many modern artists have loved plastic going back to Naum Gabo in the 30’s, in Germany. Marjorie remembers seeing two shows of his work in New York.
"In my view, Marjorie hit a new level of mastery, in her late 90’s Lexans, when she began painting more free form. Suddenly everything began to move, becoming fluid and organic. It was at this point that she became locked in, focused.
"Marjorie’s most recent Lexans ... are perhaps her most amazing yet. They are a layering of four to six shaped sheets of Lexan. She first shapes each piece, then assembles them attaching them temporarily. Then she disassembles the whole and paints each piece separately. Finally they are reassembled and fixed with Lexan rivets. The assemblage projects 10-12” into the room. The shape of the whole is indeterminate, liquid, hovering before the wall like an apparition. Shadows tend to gather at the bottom floating free the painting. There is no sense of a picture plane or frontality or limits of any kind. The whole creates its own space, which, at the same time, is expansive. The color is richer and sometimes more saturated."