Marilyn Banner - ART CART Oral History

Banner, Marilyn; Haley, Erika; Teachers College. Research Center for Arts and Culture

Marilyn Banner was born in St. Louis, Missouri in March 1945. She was raised in the nearby suburb of University City. She has lived in New York NY and Boston MA, and currently lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Banner attended Washington University (BFA School of Fine Arts, 1968). She undertook further visual arts study at Queens College (CUNY), the University of Maryland, Montgomery College, the Corcoran School of the Arts, and Massachusetts College of Art in Boston (MSEd 1982). Influential teachers and mentors included David Lund, painter, Marvin Bileck, draughtsman/illustrator, Lowry Burgess, conceptual artist, and Betsy Damon, feminist, performance artist, and arts activist.

Banner’s MSEd thesis and exhibition, “Expanding Unconscious Sources: A Return to My Inner Self,” signaled a broadening and deepening of interests, approach, and media. This work signaled a long- term interest in the psyche, spiritual imagery, dreams, memory, Jung, feminism, expressionism, Jewish history and ancestry, and Shamanism.

Banner has created several distinct bodies of work, mainly content driven and non-traditional. Media include plaster, latex, fur, bones, metal, wood, bricks, fabric, shells, slate, photography, charcoal, oil paint, acrylic, and encaustic. Forms include drawing, painting, collage, assemblage, sculpture, and installation. Travel to Costa Rica in 2002 shifted her focus from the inner to the natural world and landscape. Since 2004 Banner has worked almost exclusively with encaustic paint on wood.

Marilyn Banner has been a leader in Betsy Damon’s No Limits for Women in the Arts project, in the National Women’s Caucus for Art, and in Washington Musica Viva, a Washington DC area music and art project. She exhibits nationally has been a member of Ceres Gallery in New York City since 1992.
The purpose of the oral history interview was to find out about Marilyn Banner’s legacy, unveiling how her upbringing, family, religion, sex, and education all played a role in her artwork. Banner talks about her Jewish ancestry and religion in post-World War II United States. She also discusses the effect of sexism on her work and her experiences. She describes herself as a fighter with a great sense of determination, but also a healthy fear informing her life. Her work redefines the meaning of being a survivor and belonging to a group of people persecuted in a genocide without directly experiencing those horrors oneself. Her paintings are focused inward, on the psyche, with a spiritual motif, and she uses fabrics in her paintings and sculptures. Website:



More About This Work

Academic Units
Research Center for Arts and Culture
Published Here
December 11, 2015


This zip archive contains audio files of an oral history interview and a text file describing themes addressed in the interview. For more information about the ART CART project, please visit their website: