Interview with Marianne Smedley, published in Phoenix, Fashion Magazine, Sep 2010
Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your work?
A: I have a technical background in electrical engineering and computer analysis. I was brought up in Communist Poland and I subsequently immigrated to Great Britain. I studied art in London Metropolitan University, where I did my foundation course and Fine Art BA Honours, Part Time, in Central Saint Martins, which I finished this summer. My work is primarily about strangers and migration.
Q: Who and what are your influences?
A: I have been intellectually influenced by Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko who has impressed me with his work portraying immigrants as complete strangers living a kind of parallel life to ours but not really infiltrating it (Guests, Venice Biennale 2009). Emotionally, I respond more to Paul Winstanley’s work where he portrays empty waiting rooms where nothing is really happening but there is a potential for human interaction. I also admire the work of Prunella Clough, Richard Diebenkorn and Agnes Martin. I like their appropriation of reality into abstraction as well as their use of colours and symmetry.
Q: The media you use is interesting - can you tell me more about it?
A: All of my work in now done on aluminium. I discovered it when I was searching for a surface to paint on which would allow luminosity and reflection. The metallic surface emanates coldness and impenetrability and its reflective quality causes the viewer to see himself as he looks at the painting.
Q: You wrote about migration in your accompanying text at the exhibition - do you see your work as political?
A: I think people migrate for all kinds of reasons and have always done so. My work concerns what happens afterwards, you could say it about social integration or non- integration and the politics around those issues.
Q: Can you tell me more about the technique you use and how it informs your work?
A: I paint with porcelain varnish diluted to the point where it almost looks like watercolour as the subtle colours achieve better effects. I use a painting technique where parts of the painting are uncovered and painted individually. It allows me to utilise straight lines and geometrical forms to create an illusion of control and orderliness.
Q: What was the reaction to your final show?
A: The reaction to my final show was amazing. The college tutors were very enthusiastic. The collectors bought six out of seven paintings and The University awarded me the Kate Barton prize for painting.
Q: What's next for you as an artist?
A: More painting is next for me. I have received invitations from several galleries asking for work in a similar vein as my final show. I cannot say exactly how my subject matter will develop only that I like to concentrate on issues that are close to my experience, as that seems to give me the creative drive. I think though that I am drawn towards painting that is more abstract and could be interested in exploring permeability.
Affordable Art Fair , 21-24 October 2010 , London , Batersee Park - 'Recent Graduates'
Transition Gallery, 3 - 24 December, London E8, 'Fade Away' Group Exhibition
Go Modern Gallery, 3 Dec '10 - 28th Jan '11, London, 'Spirit Level' Group Exhibition
Summer Shows 2012
Join us to celebrate creativity and spot the stars of the future this summer. Eclectic exhibitions of art, design, fashion, communication and performance are taking place at sites across London from April to September and are free to attend.More information