Anna Tambour presents 


The virtuous medlar circle
thoroughly bletted
My Favourite artists
part 1

Marilyn Pride
an introduction and interview


The closer you look into Marilyn Pride's art, the more you'll find  in it, which is true of nature and anything worthy of being called by that abused term:  Art.
Detail of framed "Plumed Hunter"
Pride uses her myopia as the gift that it is, and she links her imagination with her natural history knowledge and her experience as a keen gardener and animal carer, to record on paper and stone, the aweful in the classical sense of the word.  She works in many styles and media, and is most happy when she isn't restricted to her ever-popular "dragons and pretty things".  Although she and her partner, Lewis P Morley (see February 2006, "My Favourite Artists: Part 2 - Lewis P Morley" ) have quite a reputation in the movie world as model-makers, I stumbled upon Marilyn Pride's pictures and stones first.
"Pitcher Plants" (above) is one example of the direction her work is going in now, but what you can see in the virtual world doesn't really show it all.
For that, you really need to be a sinner.
Yes, you need to covet selfishly to have for your own (which has to be a sin, as it's too pleasurable not to be), and then get up close and personal to see: the details (where there's life and humour where you least expect it); the paper, which she's fanatic about, too;  and because she is a perfectionist,  she is the only artist in the world whose work is framed (she does it herself) in simulated sauropod ivory, in the classical carved sauropod ivory style, but of course
My favourite works are her studies done in the manner of those in the Paper Museum of  Cassiano dal Pozzo, several studies to a page, often of disparates.
Her magnificent "Studies of Life in the Somarah Greenhouse" (which is mine, all mine!) is painted in watercolour and gouache on Arches 300 Paper (foxed).   At first glance, it is a naturalist's study of 8 specimens, but the closer you look . . .  And the most marvelous thing about this is that one of the subjects on the page is a spot-on portrait of an Australian forest resident that revels in disguise a typically un-noticed wonder that I have photographed, and knew as I photographed, that a photo doesn't give it justice.  The quality of its mystery doesn't escape her eye, nor her sense of humour, nor the essential difference that it has in the context of these studies: these are observations of life in the Red World.

An interview with Marilyn Pride
(The following picture of Marilyn's studio is a 3D anglyph which can be viewed using standard red/blue 3D glasses)
                                                                                            Photo Lewis Morley
You and your partner Lewis Morley have worked as model-makers for many films including RAZORBACK, DARK CITY, MATRIX 2&3 and SUPERMAN RETURNS. Can you tell us about any nightmares you've had in this work, asleep or awake?
       Most of the films I've worked on have been fantasy, SF or horror, but I've always lived a good part of my life in the fantasy section of my own mind (a multi-layered dimension called the Red World). Consequently, the films I worked on and their content have generally inspired rather than disturbed me.
      The exception to this was SUPERMAN RETURNS. We worked for months on one prop: Lex Luthor's giant trainset layout (Lewis as foreman and me as the miniature greensperson).  It was so large and complex, it took up all my waking thoughts and began to invade my remembered dreams too! These dreams were pleasant enough.  I was living in the giant model landscape or it was part of my house and garden.  Eventually, my dreams began to trouble me, simply because they were so overwhelming they blanked out everything else.
Perhaps this was because this richly detailed and seemingly realistic land paralleled my personal fantasy world.  Both have many distinct regions which are accessed by crawling through pop-up holes (or inter-dimensional gateways in the case of my own Red World). There was also a poignant quality overshadowing our work, because we knew from the start, despite the fact that the quality had to be top-notch, that it was all going to be deliberately destroyed by the end
of the scene, which would only last a few minutes in the final film.

 As soon as the destruction had taken place, the obsessive dreams faded away and I returned happily to my own inner world.

What empassions you these days?
As always: animals, plants, colour, scent, texture and minute detail.
However, our carefully built house and garden has become a reality -much closer to my
Red World than I could have dreamed possible! Naturally there are no intelligent dinosaurs, giant sloths or rustic cities nearby, but our dog, chickens and ferret, together with our built environment is a pleasant alternative. This does drain a little of the allure of a fantasy that was constructed to counter the dull Real-World and its unpleasant realities, but I'm now starting to question whether you really need to be miserable where you are in order to be creative.
You frequently mix the "Natural" and "fantastic" worlds in such a way that it is impossible for someone who doesn't share your vision, to fully appreciate the depth of your world. What is your relationship to reality?
       My fantasy world is an extension of the Natural, Prehistoric and Medieval worlds.  I've been fascinated by the European Stone Age for decades. This has inspired the stone walls, earth roof and woven wicker fences that I have now surrounded myself with.
       A recent direction in my painting has been inspired by 17th, 18th and 19th Century scientific and botanical illustration, complete with foxed and yellowed backgrounds.
       I started thinking about what these artists would have produced if they had travelled through the Red World. What images would they have recorded with the watercolours they carried in their satchels? These thoughts inspired the artworks I exhibited at Conflux 2006.
What work are you doing these days?
      I have five commissioned paintings in my Antique-botanical style waiting to slide into existence. There's a Red World story in comic/graphic novel format waiting to be started and as always, sundry wicker fence mending, mud brick repair and bushwalking trips to complete!
     There are also some other Red World Komics in the works including a guide to Isshutar and a collaboration story with Louise Graber.

This has only been a glimpse into
the world of Marilyn Pride's art.
Marilyn Pride's online gallery
The Red World
Sinners who covet should contact:
LewispandMarilyn at aol dot com

(For My Favourite Artists - Part II, see This )

The virtuous medlar circle

is part of
Anna Tambour and Others

The artworks here are copyright by Marilyn Pride
and are not to be reproduced in any way without her prior permission.
These works appear here with thanks to Marilyn Pride, whose payment was less than a brass razoo.
This is part of a series of pieces about people I find deliciously inspiring, always a hoot, and who write like a bletted medlar tastes. A.T.
The Virtuous Medlar Circle 2004 - 2007