The Washington State University Museum of Art will exhibit Marilyn Lysohir: High School Portraits, 1968, Good Girls, Sharon Pennsylvania, May 22 – July 21.
There will be a public reception for the artist at 6 p.m. May 22 in the museum featuring Linda DiFiore, an operatic performance by University of North Texas regents professor and high school classmate of the artist.
Moscow, Idaho, artist Marilyn Lysohir graduated from Sharon Senior High School in Sharon, Pa., in 1968 along with 163 other young women. Between the spring of 2003 and May 2007, Lysohir created 163 nearly life-size busts of her female classmates, using their senior yearbook photographs.
Museum of Art/WSU director Chris Bruce said, “We are so thrilled to be the first museum to showcase Marilyn Lysohir’s fantastic 163-piece sculpture based on her graduating class yearbook photos. This is one of those rare works of art that we immediately find familiar and daunting. How common is the high school yearbook, yet how emotionally taxing to contemplate each person in it?”
Bruce goes on to say, “The piece is at once, ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ and ‘how could she do that?’ It is simultaneously an obsessive, personal tribute to the ‘Good Girls’ of Sharon Senior High School, 1968, and a timeless, universal experience we all share in our own way. Thus, Marilyn truly represents the role of the artist: to plumb a private experience in order to provide an encounter that also unlocks the space for reflection by each member of the audience.”
When asked what her inspiration behind the piece was, Lysohir explained she was in Pennsylvania visiting friends and family and while at a gas station a classmate from high school recognized her and said hello. Lysohir didn’t initially recognize the woman and felt bad. “I went home, got out my senior yearbook and looked her up. It was Mary Reynolds and she had a twin-sister Nora. It got me thinking about where all the girls I graduated from high school with are now and what they’re doing. That’s really how the whole project was born.”
Museum of Art/WSU curator Keith Wells said, “Although the Palouse is alive with creative fervor, few people are aware of the multitude or caliber of artists that live in the area. Marilyn is a fitting example of this wealth of talent and we are very excited to have her as our featured artist this summer.”
Funding and support for this exhibit was provided by Washington Art Consortium, Washington State Arts Commission and the Friends of the Museum of Art. Special thanks to Ludmilla Parez Saskova of Buffalo Girls Productions.
Summer Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday. For more information please contact the museum at (509) 335-1910 or visit www.wsu.edu/artmuse.