2017 Edition of 20
“Landscape and sense of place are very important to me. The etching BELONGING features a section of the Elie to Arbroath Admiralty Chart circa 1963, modified to include a focus on Balmungo, the former home of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. In 2017 I worked for the Barns-Graham Trust with a colleague, packing the entire collection prior to the Trust’s move to Edinburgh. Latterly we packed ephemera which had been in Willie’s home and studio, including beach pebbles that can be identified in her paintings. The shell featured in this work belonged to her. It is possibly from Lanzarote where she made a series of works. After the move, I arranged to visit the Trust and photograph and measure stones and shells that I had packed. I chose to use this shell because the marks used to create a range of tone to describe its form are suited to the etching process – Rembrandt’s The Shell was a key influence. Without a doubt the view across this bay informed her work. The landscape featured also has personal resonance for me as it has farms named on it farmed by my forebears.” – Marion Smith RSA
Thus ‘Belonging’ is not only a possession, an object one owns or cares for (not necessarily of monetary value, such as a shell), but also a sense of place, an attachment to a place where one feels at home. ‘Belonging’ is also the title of a memoir by Willa Muir, who graduated from St Andrews University and lived in St Andrews in the 1930s with her husband Edwin.
Born in Fife, Scotland and currently based near St Andrews, Marion studied sculpture at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen. Her practice centres on creating site-specific commissions for the public realm. She has large scale sculptures permanently sited in the United Kingdom, from Shetland in the far north to Southampton in the south. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally.
Marion was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 2005.
In this exhibition, Marion Smith’s virtuosity and versatility in scale is demonstrated in a selection of her small works. Her inspiration is wide ranging, from the work of book designer and decorative artist Talwin Morris to the relationship between Morris, publisher Walter Blackie and Charles Rennie Mackintosh; from the Fife landscapes and shorelines of her forebears and St Andrews born artist Wilhemina Barns Graham; from D’Arcy Thompson’s theories on radial co-ordinates in On Growth and Form; and always from the natural world, urban environment or indoor context in which her work will be situated. She writes, “My works in PEERIE span five years from 2013 to 2018 and have been made at the same time as outdoor commissions sited across the country for a hospital, school and pathways.”
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