One from the Heart
By Nathan Philips
For Los Angeles artist Marilyn Landau, placing second Sunday in the 2008 Collage Artists of America Summer Exhibition had special meaning for her. Although she had won numerous prizes in other competitions over the last decade, and while certainly winning never gets old, for Landau, her winning creation “For Robbie With Love” was truly an extraordinary labor of love. Yet it almost never came to be. “Robbie is someone I care about, so I was concerned. Most of the art I create is solely the product of my imagination. Fiction, if you will”, explains Landau. “What if he didn’t like the way I overlaid my creative vision on his real – life memories?”
The journey from creation to award ceremony started seven months ago, when Landau’s boyfriend – the eponymous Robbie – came across a package of letters written by his father, originally sent to him and his brother while they were attending summer camp in upstate New York over thirty – five years ago. “My dad’s letters were so entertaining I used to read them to the entire bunk. I didn’t want them sitting in a drawer for another 35 years. I considered putting them in a scrapbook but then thought – I bet Marilyn would do them justice.”
Landau adds, “As an artist, I knew a collage of the letters wasn’t going to have the same emotional impact of Robbie’s memories.” Inspired by her mentor Mitzi Trachtenberg, Landau decided that the letters would not actually be the focus of the work, but rather would serve as the inspiration and foundation of what she envisioned as a more comprehensive creation she termed, a “Family Heritage Collage”.
Landau asked Robbie to gather childhood pictures. He did, including a series of photos he took in November 1978 at Long Island’s Jones Beach a month before his father passed away. Amazingly, no one in the family had ever seen the photos, which, like the letters had been sitting in the back of a file cabinet for a generation.
Although Robbie was skeptical at first, he honored his promise to Landau. “I guess I imagined something like an amalgam of words and pictures, but the collage Marilyn created is so much more than that, its truly breathtaking.” Guests at Sunday’s Collage Artists of America summer collage exhibit at VIVA Gallery in Sherman Oaks agreed.
“I don’t know any of these people”, commented media and production executive Joel Bailey on viewing “For Robbie With Love” at the opening reception Sunday afternoon. “But, I sense the overall story, the family, the relationships, elements of their history. Its more than just a collection of pictures and letters, it is really pretty amazing.”
Robbie was so thrilled with the final collage, he asked Landau to make copies so he could give one to each of his brothers when the family gathers for his niece’s wedding later this month.
The Collage Artists of America Summer Exhibition runs through Saturday, June 21, 2008
at VIVA Gallery 13261 Moorpark Street, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. For more information, including gallery hours, please call (818) 385-0080.
To see more of Marilyn Landau’s award –winning work or to contact her, please visit www.marilynlandau.com.
Park La Brea’s Eighth Art in the Park Is a Big Success
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press, page 3, September 16, 2004
BY ROBERT I GARD
Park La Brea’s Eighth
Annual Art in the Park event last weekend was a big, success, as crowds braved the unyielding heat to attend the show and view the myriad offerings of area artists. In addition, funds from the festival were donated to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times.
The annual festival, co-sponsored by the Park La Brea Arts Council. founded by Pasqual Bettio, and Park La Brea Management featured dozens of artist booths, tents with information from community groups, and live music and interactive activities through out the weekend.
“It went very well. We had a good group of artists and a good turnout,” said Deborah Gillman, Executive Director of the Park La Brea Arts Council. Among the participating artist was Farfax area resident Marilyn Landau, who sat patiently in the shade as patrons perused her mixed media creations. Landau had visited the Art in the Park event last year as a shopper and this year decided to try her hand as a seller.
“I know this is a good venue for selling art and I haven’t done an exhibit at Art in the Park yet. I also love supporting the community I live in,” Landau said.
Art in the Park
The community support carried over to the Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times as well. The camp gives children with cancer the opportunity to have fun with peers while giving their parents a respite from the stress of caring for a child with cancer. The camp has nurses on staff to meet children’s medical needs, but other than that is a typical place for children to get away and have fun. According to Camp Ronald McDonald Executive Director Carol Horvitz, this year’s Art in the Park event raised more than $36,000 for the organization.
“It is through the generosity of corporate sponsors like Park La Brea management that enables our children with cancer and their family to attend Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times for free and allows them to escape the hardships in their lives,” Horvitz said.