Artistic Achievement Award - Visual Arts
Originally from Chicago, abstract painter Marjorie Mikasen spent her formative years in Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where she received a B. A. in Studio Arts in 1981. A full time fine artist since 1986, she lived and worked in Denver, Colorado, before relocating to Lincoln in 1990. Her work has been exhibited in solo shows in Nebraska and in over 100 group shows in 21 states, the UK, Canada and Hungary. In 1997, Mikasen was the president of the Nebraska Women’s Caucus for Art (NWCA), a statewide branch of the national WCA. In 2007, Mikasen received an Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the Nebraska Arts Council. The film Swimming in Nebraska (2010) by Jon Jost, documents her painting in her studio. Jost, a visiting independent filmmaker at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, conceived the film as an ode to creativity and it has screened at several national and international film festivals. Mikasen’s work is in the permanent collection of the Sheldon Museum of Art and was recently featured in “The Geometric Unconscious: A Century of Abstraction” exhibition. Her work is also in public collections on the University of Nebraska Lincoln campus and the University of Nebraska Medical Center campus in Omaha, as well as many private collections. Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha, Nebraska, represents Mikasen.
Mikasen wrote the book ReAction! Chemistry in the Movies (Oxford University Press 2009) with her coauthor and husband Mark Griep, a chemistry professor at UNL. An Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant award in the area of Public Understanding of Science provided funding to research the book. Her painting Jekyll & Hyde was also featured in the book.
The imagery and concepts of science, mainly chemistry and biochemistry, are primary influences on Mikasen’s art. The human body has a continual symbolic presence, appearing as a cluster of geometric shapes. Other geometric forms evoke pattern, matrix and environment. Mikasen feels our shared biology has a deep connection to geometric form. It presents us with both clues to follow and mysteries to ponder about our human experience. The images for her acrylic paintings come about through a combination of traditional sketching and computer modeling. She transfers the final design to canvas and hand finishes the paintings using an exacting hard edge taping technique.