It is with grieving hearts that we acknowledge the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Marion Lane. She died on Sunday September 8, surrounded by friends and family in Los Angeles, at the age of 56 after a brave struggle with cancer.
Lane leaves behind a rich and singular body of work created over the past 20-plus years as an active and deeply Californian artist, part of the last-generation Venice Diaspora, and later as part of next-generation downtown. Her work has been shown extensively across California, from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and internationally in Australia and Japan. Lane’s art has been featured in Beautiful Decay, Juxtapoz Magazine, Artillery Magazine, Artweek.LA, ArtScene and the L.A. Weekly.
People always talk about being a true original, and usually they’re just being kind. But the case of Marion Lane it’s plainly true. She combined her graduate-level mathematics and chemistry studies with an intentional lack of formal art education to create a method and vocabulary entirely her own. She let her curiosity drive her practice, she trusted in the process and where it would lead her, and she produced an exuberant, luxuriously alien body of work that can never be mistaken for another’s. Her first show was in 1999, at the Brewery in downtown, and her most recent show opened just this month in Santa Monica.
In addition to her body of work, Marion leaves behind her beloved community she helped create and nurtured. “We have a group of painters here [in Los Angeles]… and we all see each other’s work and it’s starting to be like a communication. And the painters, the ones that I’ve met are just NICE. I mean, you’re immediately in the club. I couldn’t be happier with the community, I really couldn’t. We spend so much time alone, as a painter you spend a huge amount of time by yourself, but when you go out, after not leaving the house for three months… you know people. It’s amazing.”
Her abundant, popular, and acclaimed exhibitions, including several at Launch LA, have been an outlet for her immense curiosity in engaging the human eye and the systems by which the mind organizes color and form.
Born in New Orleans and spending childhood in Atlanta, Georgia, Lane moved to Los Angeles with her mother, actor/sculptor/poet Grace Zabriske, and her sister Helen. Lane has said she became an artist in stages. The first glimmer of her future career was in grammar school when she got pulled out of class. She thought she was in trouble, but learned she had been selected to paint the Christmas mural when the teacher led her up to a big piece of paper on the wall in the hallway and asked her to paint a Christmas tree.
One of her favorite quotes comes from her friend and mentor, artist Doug Edge, who said, “Painting is paint on a flat surface. Nothing more nothing less. Make something happen there, I dare you!” And she did make something happen there.
True artist, loyal friend, material innovator, social justice advocate, enthusiastic environmentalist, dog lover, digiphile, persuasive autodidact and force of nature, Marion Lane is survived by her mother, Grace Zabriskie, Grace’s 29 year Partner/Boyfriend Philip Horowitz, and the entire Los Angeles artist community that she loved so much.
Sometimes when you have to figure out things for yourself, then you really own them. –Marion Lane
~ Shana Nys Dambrot and Gretchen Rollins