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Ohio Northern art alumna debuts film

JanuaryVictor Babu, a new documentary produced by Ohio Northern Alumna Marilyn Lysohir (BA/art ’72), made its debut this past fall at the Kansas City Art Institute.

The film centers around Babu, who taught in the KCAI ceramics department from 1968 to 2001. He was an important figure in contemporary ceramics. Lysohir’s documentary offers a rare glimpse into the retired professor’s special world of art and philosophy. He was well known for his teaching and for his large, ornately decorated porcelain wares, which exhibited exquisite beauty and technical virtuosity. The film documents Babu working in his studio in 1993 and discussing his completed chargers on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 2008.
The film was shot and produced by Lysohir. She is an artist who uses clay as her preferred medium. Her monumental sculptures and installations can be seen in major ceramic publications and collections.

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, Good Girls 1968 in 2003, and her most recent work, 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.

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.

image: Marilyn Lysohir (second from the right) with the audience after the debut of her film at the KCAI.