(Australia 1959– )
73.0 × 21.0 × 21.0cm
Linda Marrinon’s work is characterised by the merging of a cartoon-like style, references to classical painting and sculpture, and by a distinctive, often low-key humour. She mixes up the conventions “of abstraction and figuration, of cartoons and classicism, of heroes and clowns...” (Chris McAuliffe).
In both her paintings and sculpture, Marrinon invariably depicts people or animals in slightly absurd scenarios or with a certain gently comedic irony. While Marrinon has worked with sculpture since the early 1990s, this has become a more dominant thread in her practice during the last decade, a period which has coincided with Marrinon looking closely at 19th century art. Her figure sculptures echo classic traditions but are deliberately modest and humble interpretations of this weighty history.
‘Field Marshall Montgomery’ is a portrait of the Second World War hero. The subject matter may suggest a state commemorative sculpture, but Marrinon’s version is diminutive and while Monty stands erect he looks out with some diffidence. Marrinon’s sculpture continues her project of gently undermining the nature of masculinity and its official portrayal. While there is a certain irony to this sculpture, the figure of Monty is immensely appealing however and is much more approachable than traditional grand representations of important men.
In her combination of caricature and comment, or in other equally relevant words, surface and depth, Marrinon’s practice has charted a particular trajectory in Australian art practice. Her work has been associated with the renewal of interest in pop art in Australia in the 1980s, and in particular with the suburban references and an urbane wit that also appears in the work of contemporaries such as Vivienne Shark Le Witt and Howard Arkley. Marrinon’s gently ironic watercolours, paintings and sculpture both parody their chosen subjects as well as our tendency to feel more comfortable with the vernacular and with modest aspirations than with high culture and success.
Linda Marrinon: Figure sculpture, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, 20 Aug 2009–12 Sep 2009.