Artist Spotlight: Marie Peter-Toltz


A selection of paintings exploring femininity and creative identity by New York City-based artist Marie Peter-Toltz. Creating a dialogue between poetry and art, Peter-Toltz’ latest exhibition saw her work placed alongside that of American poet Michael Bernicchi. Check out more images, as well as Bernicchi’s poetic responses, below!


My Son’s Room – In Response to Shakti

“My son doesn’t know the past as I do;

his room – three walls in jungle motif, like a wild fort –

one with blank canvas – canopy bed set

like a prince traveling the Nile,

Ganges, reaching out to new lands.

He doesn’t see himself

strolling on protected shores

in the footsteps of Divine Mother,

bathing in the mist

ten thousand years ago.

To my son, the world is new;

his room is just a room

filled with stuffed animals

and jagged crayon marks

that don’t fracture time.

He doesn’t see my hand in his,

feel its brush in the wind,

or understand that the polka dots

on the border

are portals to his past.”



Untitled – In Response to L’éternel Feminin

“My mother wears my sins at her feet

like socks woven from the fabric

of her own past –

identity dependent on

which version of Genesis you subscribe to;

I can’t see my mother being young

enough to be – Chicago at eighteen – dancing,

smoking, painting herself as she walked

through Colombia, Equador, Peru, changing

phases along the way with

Ixchel’s guiding hand.

I wonder how she surrendered

backpacking the world, exploring herself,

content now in the background of her own creation.

Most of all, I

wonder if

I was worth it.”



Je suis – In Response to Je Suis le Tigre dans la Montagne

“I used to wander as a child

like a tiger on a mountain under the bare sky

at night, manipulating the stars

by connecting dots as an atlas into mesh blankets,

and the sky became a web to explore.

I would trace the ancient maps

with my fingers as if led on a hunt

seeking self through Kurtz’s heart,

the expedition carving ivory lines

across the night,

across the same paths

my grandmothers walked,

the ones they wove through silk roads

to the east, looking back at the

journey ahead, whispered Je suis.”




Marie Peter-Toltz’s Website

Marie Peter-Toltz on Instagram

Michael Bernicchi on Twitter


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