Marilyn Minter: Artist Portrait

Marilyn Minter

Born 1948.
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Marilyn Minter Biography

American artist Marilyn Minter is best known for her hypnotizing paintings and videos that synthesize erotic imagery, gritty imperfectionism and the gloss of high fashion advertisements. In her work, posed models are smeared with dirt and makeup, drip in water and glittering jewels. Such imagery toys with the aesthetics of female commodification in the mass media and, through a subverted visual vocabulary, takes a critical view of the aesthetics of pornography. “I want women to look like they can’t get thrown away,” the artist has commented.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1948, Minter was raised in Florida, where she completed a BFA at the University of Florida in Gainseville before receiving an MFA in painting from Syracuse University, beginning her early portraits under the guidance of Diane Arbus. Her paintings are highly realistic, although at times Minter slightly deforms the imagery through a textural application or build-up of paint. Her works utilize the possibilities inherent in photo-editing software and digital technologies, while still retaining traditional painting techniques. Rather than using computer editing software to crop or manipulate her photographs, she instead produces entirely new images by layering multiple negatives, which she then paints in enamel on aluminum. She uses her hands to apply the top layer of paint to allow for a blurred, imperfect finish.

Her works are included in the collections of the Guggenheim, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She was featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, and has been the subject of numerous solo shows, including Chewing Color at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, 2009, Marilyn Minter at Deichtorhallen Hamburg, 2010, and Pretty/Dirty at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, 2015.

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Artist Image: 2007 Karin Kohlberg