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Marisol (Marisol Escobar) (Venezuelan, born France 1930)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

French sculptor of Venezuelan descent. After studying painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1949) and then at the Art Students League (1950) and the Hans Hofmann School (1951–4) in New York, she developed an interest in Mexican, Pre-Columbian and American folk art and turned her attention to sculpture. In her early work she fashioned small, animated figurines out of bronze, terracotta and wood, often placing these pieces in compartmentalized, glass-fronted boxes, for example Printer’s Box (1958; Mr and Mrs Edwin A. Bergman priv. col., see 1966 exh. cat., no. 4). In 1961 she began to incorporate drawing, painting, and objets trouvés into complex, life-size figure arrangements. Cast fragments of her own body and images of her face frequently appear in her works from this decade, many of which address the position of women in modern society. Women and Dog (1964; New York, Whitney) depicts a group of fashionable middle-class housewives parading in public wearing blank, masklike expressions; other works depict farm women and socialites in similarly constrained poses.

Marisol’s images of contemporary culture, at once deadpan and satirical in tone, were produced in the context of Pop art; the personal, enigmatic, often primitive elements of her work, however, set it apart from the mainstream of the movement. In the early 1970s she carved small, exotic fishes out of mahogany, with her own face on their polished, colourful bodies, and produced a series of prints and drawings with erotic, often violent overtones, such as Double Flower (coloured pencils and crayon, 1973; see 1975 exh. cat., no. 1). In the 1980s she returned to large-scale figural assemblages, creating a series of portrait ‘homages’ to well-known contemporary artists and personalities.

Nancy Ring
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press


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