Mother-of-pearl buttons, lead, and embroidery hoops are some of the wide-ranging materials Marilyn Lanfear uses to tell her stories. Motivated by personal family history and the urge to preserve memories, Lanfear's body of work is a testament to her rich Texas heritage and her industrious spirit. Whether by assembling a collection of carved wooden shelves or soldering a blouse made of lead, Lanfear demonstrates a dedication to the process of art making, techniques, and materials. She elevates the everyday to speak to a common shared experience both through the presence of objects and through what, or who, is missing.
Lanfear was born in Waco, Texas, in 1930 and reared in Corpus Christi. After completing her MFA at UTSA in 1978, she moved to New York and then Seattle before returning home to San Antonio. In fall 2018, the Museum presents a selection of the artist's works spanning over four decades, curated by Curatorial Associate Lana Meador. While Lanfear's family narratives are the point of departure, her use of symbolic imagery and materials calls forth universal themes such as identity, the importance of place, and memory, which resonate with all of us.
January 19, 2020 update: The San Antonio Museum of Art is saddened to learn of the passing of Marilyn Lanfear (1930-2020). A native Texan, she was a beloved and respected member of San Antonio’s artistic community, celebrated both here, statewide, and nationally for her innovative experiments in multiple processes, from drawing to painting, to sculpture and collage, in a dazzling array of materials, to bring alive individual and collective memory and histories. The Museum is honored to have been able to feature her in multiple projects, including most recently a solo focus retrospective, “Marilyn Lanfear: Material Memory” in 2018. We will miss Marilyn’s creative spirit and generosity, but celebrate her lasting legacy as an important Texas artist and friend.