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Marie Wilson-Daedalic Isomorphs

Catalog, published on the occasion of the American painter’s solo exhibition of the same title at the Hellenic American Union in 2000.

The publication includes texts and photographs of works by Marie Wilson.

“Marie Wilson’s Apparitions proliferate like a feminine jungle. They spread out from a tiny seed in the soil of the paper or canvas and entangle the whole volume of space within their endless forms.
Trunks generating lianas, creatures, bodies, coils, all in one great nourishing female continuity, absorbing and giving birth without barriers.”

-    Nanos Valaoritis, from the Preface to the edition


Marie Wilson is one of the most important women painters of Surrealism. In her solo exhibition entitled Daedalic Isomorphs at the Hellenic American Union she presented a selection of paintings and drawings representative of her signature style which spanned her entire artistic career. In her works, the characteristic elements of absolute symmetry create intricate forms around a totemic central axis, and develop, like lacework, images which one can "read” as Mayan masks, Chinese symbols, forms of insects, animals, and French gargoyles.



Leonidas Phoebus Koskos
Nadia Argyropoulou
Nanos Valaoritis
Laura Corsiglia
Susan Moulton

Marie Wilson (1922-2017) was born in Cedarville, California. After completing her formal academic education in Fine Arts (B.A. Mills College, M.A. University of California at Berkeley), she met Jean Varda, who became her mentor and passed on to her the language of modern art and chromatic synesthesia. In 1952, she left America for Paris, France, where her close friend Wolfgang Paalen introduced her to a broad circle of surrealist artists. One of them, André Breton, emerged as an important lifelong friend and a great influence in her artistic work. During the 8 years she spent in Paris, she kept in close touch with her fellow artists in the surrealist movement, exhibited her work, and wrote about art for several magazines. In 1954, she worked for a little while at Pablo Picasso's atelier in Vallauris. In 1960, she married the Greek poet Nanos Valaoritis, with whom she had three children. The couple moved to Greece shortly after their marriage and stayed there for 8 years. During 1963-1966, she collaborated as an artist and journalist with the literary magazines Pali and Residu. Some of her paintings in color were used by the Greek poet and psychoanalyst Andreas Embirikos as covers for his books. She also made illustrations for poems by Octavio Paz, Manto Aravantinou and Nanos Valaoritis, who in turn wrote poems in French for her collection of sketches Terre de Diamant (1958). In 1991, she participated in an important exhibition on Surrealism at the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris.

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