Marilyn Church is an artist whose art has straddled two very different worlds for over four decades. She moves easily between courtroom art and fine art.
After years of observing and drawing at high profile trials in the tense atmosphere of the courtroom, she realizes that the whole truth is not easily knowable. Her painting is an exploration of those aspects of people that remain hidden, impenetrable and mysterious. These are elusive qualities. Her figures are not specific. They are nearly abstractions. The backgrounds are ambiguous and fluid. Figures and the movement of vibrant colors and shapes change direction and pass beyond their boundaries. Her courtroom illustrations inform her fine art and her deep passion and attachment to both is obvious. She moves easily between sketching Bernie Madoff or John Gotti and painting abstract figures. The Library of Congress has collected more than 4,500 pieces of her work and the Smithsonian has a large number as well.
Living by the ocean for so many years, she is influenced the textures of the coast: seaweed, sand, sea glass and driftwood and the myriad shades and reflections of blue skies, bright sunsets and colors that are intensified or bleached by the sun. All of this gets expressed in a variety of media: transparent layers of paint, opaque dried acrylic textures, watercolors, fabric and wood contrast with meandering lines.
Courtroom sketches rarely leave time for nuances, but figurative painting allows for a powerful fusing of the energy of courtroom confrontations with the daring, intuitive and symbolic narratives that unfold in her art.
These works are about reaching out to understand our fragmented nature and the beauty and the fleetingness of life.