Marilyn Propp, Kenosha
2018–19 RAM Artist Fellowship Award Recipient
Photography: Camela Langendorf, Varitay Studios
Raised in upstate New York, Marilyn Propp is an artist/educator whose work has been exhibited in museums and commercial and university galleries throughout the US and Mexico. Propp attended Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Brooklyn Museum Art School, Provincetown Workshop, and San Francisco Art Institute’s pre-MFA program; and holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. She has undertaken Residencies/Visiting Artist positions in, among others, Jentel, Wyoming; Cill Rialaig, Ireland; and Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico.
Propp has received numerous grants and awards, including the Illinois Arts Council Finalist Award and an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant. Her work can be found in many public and private collections including the Summer Palace, Saudi Arabia, the Hallmark Collection, and the AT&T Collection, Kansas City, Missouri.
In 1990, David Jones and Propp founded Anchor Graphics in Chicago. She relocated in 2016 to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where she co-founded the Center for Collaborative Research. CCR’s Press on Wheels takes printmaking and papermaking into the community throughout the Midwest region. She is currently adjunct faculty at Carthage College.
My series Notes from the Sea addresses the clash/coexistence between the industrial and natural worlds where industrial debris, machine parts, and marine life are entangled or morph into one another. Fueled by my concerns about environmentally destructive practices—like the devastation of coral reefs, plastic that entangles and suffocates marine life, and oil spills that devastate land and sea—I use paper, print, and collage to present images of beauty while offering reflections on destruction.
In my work, handmade paper reflects both the undersea world and the way paper itself is made: a watery material in which wet pulp is stirred, formed, and pressed. Pigmented pulp creates a textured and painterly surface, contrasting the texture and color of the paper with the crispness and layering of the prints. Installed, they sit away from the wall, appearing to float, creating an impression of underwater glimpses. With their trailing deckles they evoke the movement of sea life, often suggesting filtered sunlight, as though looking up through the water from below. Ultimately, the work is about mending the world.