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New body of work by Boston based artist Marilyn Levin on view at Toomey Tourell
Marilyn Levin, Varanasi at Dawn, 2012. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Photo: Courtesy Toomey Tourell.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Toomey Tourell announces an exhibition of new paintings, entitled Cycles of Time, by the artist Marilyn Levin

In this new body of work, Marilyn Levin, a Boston based artist, continues her exploration of color and form, rendered firmly in abstraction. These recent paintings reflect Levin’s ongoing fascination with her experiences in India. Within Hindu ideology, the process of time and creation is cyclical. In much of the imagery here, you see various forms of the circle, often dense and deeply saturated with color. The surfaces of these paintings are textural layers of oil that have been poured and scraped, at times appearing excavated rather than applied to the canvas. As she paints, the work often changes and develops in a new way- a testament to the importance of process in Levin’s work. These layers of paint create a stage for the configuration of shapes that at times threaten to escape the edges of the painting. Color seems to jump off the canvas in some areas, while the viewer is drawn into deep dark spaces elsewhere. Also included in this exhibition are Levin’s recent explorations of works on paper, using water based materials and bleach. This experimentation involves using images from Indian miniatures as an initial inspiration for the work. Transparent veils of color and texture are often used symbolically-circles, squares, triangles and ovals represent the divine and mystical, while the palette of India pervades all. Her use of metallic paint in many of these works reflects the use of dark and light utilized by the miniaturists, but in Levin’s case the applied, dried metallic forms wrinkles and patterns on the canvas, which become her starting point in determining the life of the painting.

In her words, “I believe that the mystery of what an artist really means plays itself out from within. So the painting grows, develops and often changes in concept during the process of painting. My painting comes from a tradition of painterly abstraction. Paint application is an important part of my process and often leads to unexpected results. I build my surfaces with layers of oil paint, pour paint over these surfaces and scrape through these layers revealing a multitude of color from underneath. Often the image appears to be unearthed. Color, and its relationship to gold, has been a major focus of my work for several years. This interest has become more intense and more varied in my work since spending time in India helping “untouchable” women develop their crafts. The gold, as well as the intense pinks, oranges and reds, reflect the heat of the area and the intensity of the culture. I am strongly influenced by surroundings, internalizing them, translating to my canvases and hoping to evoke a personal response from my viewers.”

Marilyn Levin has exhibited extensively in the United States, and has been included in important private and public collections. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a fellowship at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, three National Endowment for the Arts grants, and a five week fellowship at the Sanskriti Foundation in Delhi. This is Marilyn Levin’s fifth exhibition with Toomey Tourell.





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