Marilyn Rea- Menzies

Marilyn Rea-Menzies is a well known artist and contemporary tapestry weaver who  has been painting and drawing since childhood.   She taught herself to weave tapestries in 1980 and has since had wide experience in producing tapestries for exhibition, for private homes and also for public and corporate spaces.  Recipient of a number of awards she has exhibited her work extensively throughout New Zealand and overseas.  One of her tapestries was included in an exhibition The 7th Triennale of Mini Textiles – ‘Order and Chaos – the Frontiers’ at the Jean Lurcat Museum of Contemporary Tapestry, Angers, France. This small work was purchased by the Museum for it’s collection of miniature textiles.  Two of the collaborative tapestries ‘Raiment’ with Julia Morison and ‘Song’ with Don Driver were purchased in 2003 by the Christchurch Art Gallery, Te Puna O Waiwhetu.  ‘Raiment’ is at present on show in the Contemporary Art Collection at the Gallery.


For twelve years she worked from her studio in The Arts Centre of Christchurch, but lost that studio in the February 22nd earthquake in 2011. At this time she was working on a tapestry screen for Government House in Wellington.  This was commissioned by Lady Susan Satyanand as her gift to the House at the end of her husband’s tenure as Governor General.  Work on the tapestries was suspended for about seven weeks because of the earthquake but it was able to be completed in time to be presented to Government House on the 17th August 2011.


Her paintings and digital work have also been exhibited widely and she has twice been a finalist in the Anthony Harper Awards at CoCA in Christchurch.


In March 2013, Marilyn moved to Hamilton to live near her children, and has set up the Marilyn Rea-Menzies Arts Studio  in Albert Street, Hamilton East.   She has completed two commissioned  tapestries since then and has been largely painting in acrylics over the last few months.  


Of her work Marilyn says –


“Many of my design concepts deal with the deconstruction and reconstruction of images in many different ways.  I enjoy breaking up and distorting shapes and spaces to create new images from old.  I also respond to the grid format and much of my contemporary work relates to this interest.


I also enjoy taking small things out of scale and enlarging them greatly.  Many New Zealand native flowers particularly, are very small and insignificant, almost unnoticeable, but very, very beautiful close-up.  I love to find beauty in the things that we normally walk over and do not see.