New exhibit features the work of Marilyn Taus

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ – a new exhibition features the work of Marilyn Taus, locally and nationally known artist

A retrospective art show to honor the life of a woman who influenced art both locally and nationally will come to the Cambridge Center for the Arts.

Marilyn Taus
Marilyn Taus

Marilyn Taus, who died in February 2007 after a 15-year battle with cancer, will be the featured artist of the show that opens June 27 with a reception from 4-7 p.m. at Cambridge Center for the Arts.

All are welcome to attend the reception, which will include live music by Kenny Krona, wine, hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.

Besides Taus’ pieces, the show will also be interspersed with the work of the mentoring group she founded in the area, Visual Women. The Taus pieces in the show are from her Visual Women private collection as well as pieces from her late husband’s collection.

The free exhibition will remain on display through July 25 and will be open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays. During the exhibition, there will be a nine-piece mural for sale painted by Taus and members of Visual Women. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the fight against cancer in memory of Taus.

Taus grew up in north Minneapolis, displaying an aptitude for the arts at a young age. She graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in sculpture and ceramics and began a long, prolific and successful career as an artist.

Taus spent her senior year living in Europe for about 18 months, earning 53 college credits while living in Vienna and creating art, taking art history classes and meeting and learning from a wide variety of mentors.

She began with ceramics and moved into drawing, painting, sculpture and then into any medium she chose, culminating in a teaching career at Anoka Ramsey Community College in Cambridge that allowed her to share her exceptional gifts and talents with so many others.

“Starting as a part-time teacher in 1994 and continuing as a full-time instructor in 2001, Marilyn Taus was an integral part of the Cambridge Campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College,” said Deidra Peaslee of Anoka Ramsey Community College. “She was a tremendous asset to the campus, both as an artist and a teacher. As an artist, the campus still hosts pieces created or selected by Marilyn to reflect the natural surroundings. As a teacher, Marilyn had a way of presenting for both the novice and the experienced without making the novice scared or the experienced bored. As Kim Lynch, current ARCC dean, and a former colleague said: ‘Marilyn had a way of making every person she knew see his or her own beauty, talent and value in the world. To this moment, I miss that.’”

Marilyn Taus said some of her paintings centering around foliage and treescape were designed after she visited Grand Marias in the early 2000s and discovered a group of vandals had chopped down a cluster of large, beautiful white pines that she loved.
Marilyn Taus said some of her paintings centering around foliage and treescape were designed after she visited Grand Marias in the early 2000s and discovered a group of vandals had chopped down a cluster of large, beautiful white pines that she loved.

Award-winning graphite artist Marilyn Cuellar, of Cambridge, was part of the Visual Women mentoring group that Taus started in the early 2000s.

“To all artists in the area, Marilyn (Taus) was a major influence,” Cuellar said. “I think many would say she was their mentor in so many ways. She exhibited her work in art shows throughout the country and had a successful career as a painter, sculptor, ceramist and several other mediums — she was highly skilled in whatever medium she chose. As I always say, she had unbelievable talent but she also had the unique ability to share that talent through teaching. Her passing was a great loss to the art world — locally and nationally.”

The Visual Women mentoring group is a group of artists and art students who met monthly for Taus’ teaching and mentoring in whatever art medium they were working on. The group still continues to meet as schedules permit.

Local artist Beth Anne Palmer was a part of the Visual Women mentoring group and explained the students would bring their projects to class and Taus would critique them. There would also be a group critique at the end of the session.

“Marilyn (Taus) would always have a lesson planned for us in drawing, watercolor or ceramics,” Palmer said. “We hired models for figure class and took many field trips to art shows, galleries and seminars. One of our biggest trips was to Italy in May 2003. It was a three-week learning trip of stone sculpture, photography and drawing. The group was made up of students from Normandale College, Cambridge Community College and many Visual Women members.”

Palmer said Taus’ influence will be everlasting.

“Marilyn (Taus) believed in me before I believed in myself,” Palmer said. “She always had something positive to say about your work and would help you make changes to improve it, no matter what level of student you were.”

She added: “Marilyn (Taus) believed in your potential to produce something wonderful. If she saw the slightest spark of vision in your piece, she would draw it out of you to completion.”

Marilyn Taus’ paintings are vibrant, bold, colorful and lively.
Marilyn Taus’ paintings are vibrant, bold, colorful and lively.

Cuellar explained that even though Taus lived in Cambridge, she held arts shows all over the country and had a national following.

“Marilyn (Taus) lived and breathed for art, and she excelled in every medium she did,” Cuellar said. “She also had the ability to teach it, which is a rare combination. Marilyn’s influence is in each piece of work I do. Her influence is in everything I do.”

Palmer said Taus also inspires her work.

“Marilyn (Taus) would always say, ‘Less is more. Overworking a piece can kill. Sign it, it’s done,’” Palmer said. “We always joked about Marilyn calling white pines, ‘beautiful ladies with big hats.’ She saw the world through color, tints and shades. She would always say, ‘I’m a colorist, and when I see value in nature, I have to get it down on paper.’”

Cambridge Center for the Arts is located at 140 Buchanan St. N., and can be reached at 763-552-0230. More information can also be found at