Marilyn Batte came to Egypt in 1992 as an art teacher for an international school. When she first arrived in Egypt , she immediately began taking photographs of the places she visited and has over 1000 images from Upper Egypt to the Mediterranean and from the Western Desert to the Sinai.
Egypt offers unlimited subject matter for Batte, who enjoys its variety of landscape and friendliness of people. She prefers to paint places rather than people. Painting mainly as a photorealist, she says, "I enjoy the challenge of transforming a flat blank canvas into the illusion of a three dimensional space that a viewer feels that could step into."
She held her first solo exhibition "Still Places-A Canadian Perspective of Egypt", a collection of 24 oil paintings depicting some of the quiet and beautiful images she captured on film at the Atelier du Caire in September of 1995. Batte than took the same paintings to Alexandria and exhibited them at 'L'Atelier" gallery in October. In March of 1996, she exhibited "Lasting Moments of Egypt" a collection of 19 paintings depicting the oases and desert in a still realistic style.
For the future, Batte says she wants to experiment with even more impressionistic works. She plans to put down her small paint brushes and do some painting with a palette knife and larger brushes to create some works with more spontaneity and abstract expressionism. However, she will not abandon her photorealist style indefinitely. "I love painting intricate surfaces."
Her upcoming exhibition, "Near and Far-Art and the Artist", 15-25 February 1997, at the Cairo Opera House, will include both new paintings and previously exhibited works. Probably the most striking are the works of photorealism. It also includes works of realism and expressionism. Her photorealistic paintings allow viewers to feel as if their experience of seeing a painting is the experience of being there, whatever their emotional reaction may be. Batte is a bit of a perfectionist and a as a painter gets great satisfaction from getting on the canvas, the lights and shadows she sees.
She sums of her work to date, "these are paintings which are both near and far to me. They express some of what is down deep inside of me - and perhaps all of us - hidden far from public view."