Marilyn Batte, a Canadian artist, came to Egypt in 1992 as an art teacher in an international school. Batte immediately began taking photographs of the places she visited in Egypt and has accumulated over one thousand images from Upper Egypt to the Mediterranean , from the Western Desert to the Sinai.
She held her first solo exhibition, "Still Places-A Canadian's Perspective of Egypt", a collection of 24 photorealistic oil paintings depicting some of the quiet and beautiful images she had captured on film, at the Atelier du Caire in September of 1995. Batte then took the same paintings to Alexandria and exhibited them at the L'Atelier Alexandria gallery the in October.
Marilyn resigned from teaching full time and began her career as a full time artist that fall. The following spring, in March 1996, she exhibited at CSA, "Lasting Moments of Egypt", a collection of 19 paintings depicting the oases and desert in a looser, but still realistic style. Her exhibition, "Near and Far", at the Cairo Opera House Art Gallery in February 1997, included 49 works.
Probably the most striking were the works of photorealism. It also included some very personal works of realism and expressionism.
She participated in two group exhibitions in Cairo in March 1997 and December 1997.
For the future, Marilyn is preparing for her exhibitions at the American Embassy in April 1998 and CSA in May 1998, as well for her first Canadian exhibitions at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery and Toronto 's Illuminary Art Gallery in October 1998.
Her works are in private collections in Canada , Egypt , France , Finland , Italy , Trinidad and the U.S.A.
Batte hopes her photorealist paintings allow viewers to feel as if their experience of seeing a painting is the experience of being "in the place" whatever their emotional reaction may be.
But the life of an artist surrounded by, seeing and creating beauty is not always as gentle and simple as we might imagine. Batte says she places very high standards on her work and has been reticent to paint in a freer more impressionistic style. She decided to take what she considers an artistic risk with a set of works in "Near and Far" that deal with the darker side of her struggles as an artist. "I wanted to present some impressions of the range of frustrating and challenging emotions that I have faced in striving for excellence and creativity."
However, she has not abandoned her photorealistic style. "I love painting intricate surfaces-old wood, rough rock and smooth water. I want to get closer still, to reveal the subtle natural design and features of a surface."