Marilyn Batte is a photorealist oil painter. She describes herself as a painter. In 1992, while living in Egypt as an art teacher, Batte began taking photographs of the places she visited in Egypt and has accumulated over one thousand images from Upper Egypt to the Mediterranean , from the Western Desert to Sinai. Inspired by the images, she began painting.
Batte held her first solo exhibition, "Still Places - A Canadian's Perspective of Egypt", a collection of twenty four photorealistic oil paintings depicting some of the quiet and beautiful images she had captured on film, at Atelier du Caire in September of 1995.
Batte then took the same paintings to Alexandria and exhibited them at the L'Atelier Alexandria Gallery in October, 1995.
Of her work then, she wrote:
Living in Cairo I feel there is constant noise and activity. As a reprieve, I search for quiet and stillness. My paintings are my vision of what I discovered.
I find Egypt unlimited in its subject matter. From such diversity and animation, I have selected certain images and places. I tried to capture the special ness of these spaces and to portray the simplicity and beauty existing there. The absence of people in my works yields to the presence of the viewer. There is a waiting chair, an open door, a still swing, a deserted towel.
My paintings - my impressions of the world - are openings to a light filled space into which the viewer may enter.
Batte resigned from teaching full time and began her career as a full-time artist that fall. The following spring, in March 1996 she exhibited at CSA, "Lasting Moments of Egypt" a collection of nineteen paintings depicting the oases and desert in a looser but still realistic style.
For that exhibition she stated:
Living in Egypt for the past three and a half years, I am constantly reminded of the timelessness of the place. Particularly I have found an enduring tranquility and beauty in the oases, desert and Upper Egypt.
The desert; although its specific dunes may be transient; possesses a perpetual continuum. Perhaps, like the oasis, it is the desert's isolation that protects it from change.
I have tried to discover the essence of these lasting moments and represent them on canvas to realized time and again.
Next was her first major exhibition, "Near and Far - Art and the Artist", at the Cairo Opera House Art Gallery in February of 1997, which included forty-nine works. Probably the most striking were the works of photorealism. It also included some very personal works of realism and expressionism.
She expressed then:
I believe there is beauty everywhere. Living far from my home country of Canada , I have been very happy to find so many diverse scenes and images of Egypt with all types of beauty.