Marilyn has been drawing and painting since the age of 12. Originally trained as a teacher, she discovered very young in life that her greatest passion lies in art.
Marilyn believes that drawing is the basis of all good work. A devoted artist since the 1970's, Marilyn was at first in Tauranga, then a shift to Picton, and finally worked from her own studio in the Arts Centre of Christchurch before the earthquake. The earthquake necessitated a shift to Hamilton to live nearer to her children and the setting up of the Marilyn Rea-Menzies Arts Studio in Hamilton East.
Marilyn is now living in her hometown of Westport where she is running the Marilyn Rea-Menzies Art Studio/Gallery from her home. Visitors are very welcome.
“I choose to work in the medium of tapestry weaving from this background of drawing and painting because I find it an absorbing art form. The process of making is no different now to what it was generations ago and the design possibilities are endless. The content and structure of the work are so interdependent that one cannot exist without the other and there is something quite satisfying in creating a whole piece from nothing.”
Head - Heart - Hands
Marilyn's tapestries adorn many public spaces and private homes, both in New Zealand and overseas. Her lively tapestry portraits have won the hearts, as well as tears, of many. Her latest public tapestry commission was the double-sided Kowhai Screen at Government House in Wellington.
Marilyn also paints, draws and has produced a large amount of work in mixed-medium, including photography.
Marilyn held her first solo exhibition ‘Nature’s Way – An Exploration' in the Waikato, at ArtsPost in 2014. Then, in 2018, the solo exhibition ‘Extinction is Forever’ was first shown at the Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville and attracted a large number of visitors. The exhibition featured tapestries, drawings and paintings on the theme of the endangered flora and fauna of New Zealand, and in particular, our birds.
One of her tapestries ‘Extinction is Forever – Kokako’ from this exhibition was shown in 2019 in the invitational Premier Tapestry Award exhibition in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.