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Renowned ONU ceramic/sculpture graduate presents new work, “Flower Girls”

June— As an artist and a businesswoman, Ohio Northern University graduate Marilyn Lysohir (B.A. ’72) draws from a deep well of ambitious creativity. Her ceramic installations, which are often astounding for their sheer size, evolve from very personal points of inspiration into pieces that are overwhelming not just physically, but also in their simplicity. Lysohir’s work tends toward a philosophy that’s a bare-faced and semi-literal representation of her life and her family and friends, shrugging off complications to rest on a more literal bedrock of interpretation.

Flower Girls, Lysohir’s latest work, reflects the artist’s habit of channeling her life into her art.

“Life has an unfailing ability to move us in directions that we would never venture or choose to experience. I see them as clues. These clues can give us joy or pain or a creative breakthrough,” explained Lysohir. “Sometimes we see them and react and sometimes they pass us by without notice. In any event they are treasures, because we learn, and often learn to survive something of importance.”

The concept for Flower Girls “came from a past experience that my husband and I had in India,” said Lysohir. “We were in a taxi and stopped at a light. Then all of a sudden from the right, a beautiful woman reached into the taxi trying to sell us freshly picked flowers. At the exact same moment, hands appeared in the left window—a leper begging for money.”

This ceramic installation “seems to me to relate to those clues of joy or pain or creativity and celebrate life.”

Flower Girls is now on exhibit at the Loft Gallery at the Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana from June 7–30, 2013.

Located in Red Lodge, Montana, the Center’s mission is to provide a place for professionally minded ceramic artists to create new work. The Center hosts visiting artist workshops, lectures, demonstrations, gallery exhibitions, and educational programming to share with our resident artists and the general public the importance of art in our everyday lives.

Born in Sharon, PA, Lysohir studied at Ohio Northern University, at the Centro Internazionale Di Studi in Verona Italy (1970-71) and at Washington State University (MFA in 1979). She has taught at various schools such as the Kansas City Art Institute, the Ohio State University and New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred. In 2000, she was a visiting artist in residence at Ohio Northern University’s department of art & design.

During the 1980s, Lysohir earned a reputation as one of the country’s foremost ceramics artists. Her career gained momentum with pieces like The Fourth Sister, which featured three different brides looking at three different wedding cakes, and The Alligator’s Wife, a ceramic version of herself lying atop a 15-foot ceramic alligator.

In 1984, she landed her first solo show in Los Angeles, featuring Bad Manners. After the piece sold, Lysohir was granted a second solo show for which she created The Dark Side of Dazzle, the battleship that she says commemorates her father’s time as a soldier in World War II.

Other works of note include The Last Immigrant completed in the late 1980s, The Tattooed Ladies and the Dinosaur in the early 1990s, and a recent work of art, Good Girls 1968, an installation of 163 individually sculpted heads of the girls with whom Lysohir graduated from high school in 1968.

Lysohir also is an entrepreneur who turned what she loved into a livelihood—chocolate. She is the owner of Cowgirl Chocolates, a company that successfully sells chocolate infused with chili peppers.

Ohio Northern University’s quality, student-centered education distinctively combines nationally ranked sciences, arts and professional programs for more than 3,500 students in its five colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, Pharmacy and Law.

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second and third editions of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2013–14 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.