Marlene Rye has an A.B. from Smith College and an M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has studied under Andrew Forge, Barbara Grossman, John Moore, and Martha Armstrong. Her work has been shown nationally and has been accepted into juried shows with distinguished curators from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim. She is currently represented by Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia, The Studio in New Hope, PA, The Oxbow Gallery in Northampton, MA and Jacqui Becker in Boston.  She has been in 17 solo shows since 1994.

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Why I Paint

When I am painting, all of my senses come alive.  I am filled to the tips of my fingers and toes with adrenaline and the urge is so powerful, that if I don't do it, I feel like I will explode.  When I was in graduate school, the first week I made seven paintings.  My instructors told me to SLOW DOWN!  I learned to extend that energy so that I could stay in a painting longer, and the fire is sustained the whole time.  When I am making a body of work, they are with me all the time in my head.  If I am away from studio, I think about the paintings I have in process and work on them mentally.  As soon as get there, I release that energy back into the work.  I can't imagine a life without making art.  It is if all the beauty around me channels through me and I have to release it on the canvas!

Artist Statement

This work explores my deep relationship with place, specifically the forested areas of Western, MA. The connection is not purely visual, as within these woods I uncover reflections of my life and the human condition in general.  

People spend a great deal of time looking down.  Wrapped up in our worries, troubles, responsibilities, we often walk the trials of life withdrawn and introspective.  These drawings ask you to engage them with your head held high, inviting viewers to look up, into and through the trees.

I often have no idea what draws me to work from a particular image until I have worked from it several times. Once the “why” becomes clear, I dig in and go after the magic that lies below the surface. The visual connection to my original source material becomes lost in the translation as the image departs from the visual and delves into all of the senses. I am not interested in conveying a specific moment in time or place, but rather the essence of what makes that place magical. In the searching, trees become metaphors for relationships, the joy of living, conflicts and the beauty of friendships, a reflection of my life and of the lives of others that I encounter.