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Ohio Northern alumna featured in national portraiture exhibition

August—The Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana is featuring the work of Ohio Northern University alumna Marilyn Lysohir (BA/art ’72) in an exhibition celebrating extraordinary artistic accomplishment.

Her installation “Good Girls 1968” was completed in 2003 and is now on view from March 20 to August 24, 2014.

The work is the ultimate tribute to the end of childhood: carefully crafted sculptures of each of the 163 girls—now women—of Sharon High School’s class of 1968, all handmade by the former classmate. Marilyn debuted her installation in 2007 at the Washington State University Art Museum.

The exhibition at YAM, called “Face to Face, Wall to Wall,” integrates regional artists with the international art scene and reinforces the ways in which the local is found in the universal (as well as vice versa).

The extraordinary exhibition is part of the museum’s two-year-long exhibition series called “Mind, Memory, and Image,” which is coordinated by the Yellowstone Art Museum to celebrate and examine the life of the mind on the occasion of the YAM’s 50th anniversary.

Curated by the YAM’s Senior Curator Bob Durden, the show explored new approaches to portraiture, the epitome of personal, reflective art forms. The artists in “Face to Face” were selected based upon each artist’s ability to stretch the definition of portraiture as much as for their deft ability and varying approaches to the genre. The 30 artists were diverse and international in scope.

“During a time when the cultural arena is rife with anger and political uncertainty, the exhibition includes art works that represent the more positive aspects of human nature and co-existence,” Durden said.

The exhibition content reflects the changing face of the community and how social interaction affects people on a personal level. Meeting face to face provides a uniquely rewarding proposition that on occasion leads from an impasse, or an aura of antagonism, to mutual understanding.

The exhibition serves as an understated acknowledgement of others and their contributions, which have allowed the museum to flourish in the Billings community for 50 years.

As a featured artist from the exhibition, Marilyn gave a talk at the museum on August 14. Her presentation, Personal Reflections, addressed her work in ceramics.

Born in Sharon, PA, Marilyn 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, Marilyn 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, Marilyn 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, Flower Girls.

Marilyn 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 “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 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: Good Girls 1968, Marilyn Lysohir at the YAM.