"The Paintings of Marilyn Foley"

Amelia Arenas, PhD
MoMA, New York


Why do I call Foley's work "paintings" instead of watercolors? Because the term "watercolor" brings to mind the European definition of it which involves the fleeting moment, the casual view which is normally associated with sketching. Rather there is something that reminds me of Homer and Eakins, Wyeth and Hopper. Although Foley has a gentleness of touch, it never compromises the geometric rigor that underlies the structure of the paintings.

It seems to me also that the tangibility of things pervades; light is less an atmospheric event than a presence that reveals the material resonance of things. And realism in this case is not there to entertain the viewer with cheap illusionism. It is a realism without formula, a workmanship which is never simply efficient, a precision of touch which doesn't take itself for granted and which reveals in every passage the attitude of new problems to be sought and solved.

In Foley's work, nature is never given a pastoral tone and the image of the domestic is free from anecdote. Strictly speaking, there is no narrative but vision suspended. The stillness and silence one senses in her work are the result of reflective contemplation which is too sober to be romantic, yet is spiritual in a way which only American realism can be.

Savannah Morning News, Savannah, Georgia

Savannah artist Marilyn Foley has an eye for the still silent details of life. Where many watercolor artists turn their brushes to still-life images, Foley prefers to seek out the shimmering magic of a moment in time, recording the way the light casts a particular shadow as the sun's light fades...

 

croquet players

 

The Ledger, Bedford, New York

Her vivid scenes capture outdoor light as it falls on familiar buildings in Bedford, on people playing croquet-on anything where light plays on form and where Mrs. Foley has been to capture the scene...

Gordon Street Gate

 

Connect Savannah, Savannah, Georgia

Working solely in watercolor, Foley combines the gentle nature of the medium with a painterly sense of compositional structure of Savannah's staircases, garden gates and window boxes...

  Street

 

Northridge Gallery, Ridgefield, Connecticut

The body of Ms. Foley's work explores the strong architecture and spiritual atmosphere of many of the world's churches. In this exhibition, her eye has ranged from Italy's greatest -St. Marks in Venice and St. Peters in Rome - to sunlit courtyards and casual street scenes...

 

Live Oak SavannahIocovozzi Fine Art, Savannah, Georgia

Foley combines an uncompromising structural sense with a delicate touch to create realism rarely seen in watercolor. Like no other medium, watercolor is difficult to work with and demands perfection from the artist if the painting is to acheive its transparent quality. This transparent effect creates an extraordinary sense of light which is in all of Foley's work. Her chosen compositions are complex, calling for patience, talent and precision which she displays beautifully in her rendering of broken shadows and complicated architectural structures. All this simply confirms her incredible professionalism, education and skill as a gifted artist...