Essay

THROUGH A GLASS, BRIGHTLY
Willie Marlowe's prismatic vision

Willie Marlowe's small paintings on paper delight us with their many-sided surprise. Her prismatic scenes deliver the same mind-jolt as today's super-microscopy, which transform a fiberblast cell or microphage into a fabulous chromatic tableau. They seem drawn from tropical gardens and Caribbean reefs, and the psychedelic spots the retinas record when our eyes are pressed shut. Surely there is calypso music in them, and sometimes the mysteries waves whisper to the sand at night. In their buoyant suspension and asymmetric balance, these tiny rectangles oscillate between reality and dream. It's nearly impossible to keep from smiling at their extravagant claims, or to feel their ripples of bliss. A saturated sensuality bursts from Willie Marlowe's art. Looking at it, we feel the same way.

Timothy Cahill
April 2003
Times Union Albany, NY

Black Feather
Nine Lives
acrylic
6" x 6"
Private Collection, North Carolina