Marylou Reifsnyder: The Picture Book of Days
There were angels around me, and I made pictures of them.
- Marylou Reifsnyder
Marylou Reifsnyder (1922-1990), a virtually self-taught artist, created thousands of paintings, drawings, poems, toys, carvings and books over a thirty year period.
Reifsnyder was drawn to a variety of mystical philosophies. She studied the images of ancient mythology, medieval alchemy, tarot, astrology, Christian theology, and the cosmic fables of William Blake. She also studied the work of Carl Jung, known for his theories exploring archetypes and the collective unconscious.
Reifsnyder’s art, however, was rooted in her own mystical experiences. She stated that her artistic creations came to her in a “visionary way,” and referred to herself – the artist – as an “awed spectator.” Around 1960 Marylou Reifsnyder was visited by the vision of an angel holding a Grail. Emerging from the Grail was a heart. The image of that Grail appears frequently in Reifsnyder’s work, as do symbols derived from her study of religious and spiritual traditions.
The Picture Book of Days is a collection of mixed media works compiled by Marylou Reifsnyder in 1967-68. The individual works in this series were created in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the pictures in The Picture Book of Days were derived from “automatic” drawings that Reifsnyder did around 1962. In automatic drawing, the hand is allowed to move randomly, rather than deliberately, across the paper. Hence the drawing produced may be attributed in part to the subconscious. It was thought by some Spiritualists that automatic drawings were created by spirits acting through the artist’s body.
Marylou Reifsnyder: The Picture Book of Days is made possible through the support of the Marylou Reifsnyder Memorial Exhibitions Fund.