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Past Exhibition

Marilyn Lanfear: Material Memory

August 24–November 11, 2018

Special Exhibitions Gallery, 4th Floor East

Marilyn Lanfear (American, born 1930), Diana’s Huipil with Una Talla and Handwoven Labels, 1987, h. 57 in. (144.8 cm); w. 29 in. (73.7 cm); d. 21 in. (53.3 cm), San Antonio Museum of Art, Anonymous Donation, 95.11.


Mother-of-pearl buttons, lead, and embroidery hoops are some of the wide-ranging materials Marilyn Lanfear uses to telll 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 assembliing 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.

Exhibition Gallery

Marilyn Lanfear, Aunt Billie

Marilyn Lanfear, American, born 1930, Uncle Clarence’s Three Wives (triptych), 2005–2007, Aunt Billie (Billie Patterson Moore died in the school explosion in New London, Texas), Mother-of-pearl and plastic buttons on linen, Gift of Marilyn Lanfear, 2016.33.3.2.a-c

Marilyn Lanfear, Aunt Billie (detail)

Marilyn Lanfear, American, born 1930, Uncle Clarence’s Three Wives (triptych), 2005–2007, Aunt Billie (Billie Patterson Moore died in the school explosion on in New London, Texas) (detail), Mother-of-pearl and plastic buttons on linen, Gift of Marilyn Lanfear, 2016.33.3.2.a-c

Marilyn Lanfear at work

Marilyn Lanfear at work

Marilyn Lanfear, Gingerbread

Marilyn Lanfear, American, born 1930, Untitled (Gingerbread), 2007, Wood, Collection of the Artist

Marilyn Lanfear, Whatnot Shelves

Marilyn Lanfear, American, born 1930, Untitled (WhatNot Shelves and Repisas), 2008, Wood, Gift of Marilyn Lanfear, 2016.33.5

Marilyn Lanfear, The Chair and the Smokehouse

Marilyn Lanfear, American, born 1930, The Chair in the Smoke House, 2011, Found objects (wood), Gift of Marilyn Lanfear, 2016.33.6

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