Meme Mary is an incredible artist, an artist who has taken her experience as a student at the RCA and pushed the boundaries to produce artwork that is pulsating with power. We were honoured to show her work at FLUX. Work that is impactful and evocative. Meme’s art is often created on a large-scale with strong lines, with the figure being treated in an expressive manner. Her smoothness of technique is combined with a boldness of form. This method creates an emotional realism bursting from figurative abstraction. The impact of Meme’s work is powerful, art that ensures you stop and linger on all the possibilities, art that makes you gaze upon the beauty of both the rugged and the raw, art that captivates the movement, the solitude, the sensuality of humanity. Meme we are proud to support you and are excited to follow your artistic journey, you are without doubt a brilliant artist. Thank you for sharing your art with us!
Self taught or at art school?
I spent seven years at art college travelling through different paintings courses. I started with a foundation course, then a diploma, a BA hons degree in Painting and finally an MA in Painting.
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
There are so many fabulous works of art around that I’m not sure I can narrow a choice down to just one piece, other than to say my inclination is towards a painting. So much depends on time and place. For example, I went to Frieze yesterday where there was a bit of everything and anything, my response to it felt like pressing the “like” button on a phone or laptop. I then went to Frieze Masters where I saw the most beautiful pencil drawing of a woman by Henry Moore it was delicate and beautifully observed with such tenderness. On the opposite wall was a painting by Cezanne of some fruit in a basket, so totally different but the colours and composition just sang out with such beauty. Both had that “inexplicable something”. On the other hand, Tracey Emin asked me to swap a painting with her a few years ago. If I had followed her up on that request I could say I already own a ‘work of art’!
How would you describe your style?
I keep pushing my work to find new ways of expressing myself and as a result use and experiment with different mediums. These ‘mediums’ are based around the tactile elements of paint, charcoal and pencil. I don’t experiment with digital images because I want to be part of the construction of making art with something raw, elementary and often unpredictable.
I love drawing and find it a very direct medium to experiment with ideas on a large and small scale. These drawings then feed into large canvases which never have a preconceived end result. The paintings move with ideas and are worked and reworked to find a conclusion or not as the case may be.
Where are your favourite places to view art?
Earlier this year I went to the Maeght Foundation and the Matisse Chapel both of which are in the South of France. For me, a trip across the channel into other parts of Europe are always centered around seeing a specific show, gallery, church or cathedral. I love researching a place to see art and find it very exciting to see’ site specific art ‘in a different environment or light to here in the British Isles.
The Maeght Foundation had many Giacometti sculptures as well as Miro and Calder. Seeing them outside in the warmth of the day underneath the pine trees with long dark shadows was exciting and inspiring. While the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence with its stained glass windows and interior decoration by Matisse was emotionally, moving.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
With this I tend to look to the past . There are so many fabulous painters from Giotto to Titian, Rembrandt to Picasso. I cannot choose one over the other when each has and gives in vitality, beauty and inspiration.
Where’s your studio and what’s it like?
My studio is a glass house, a nightmare to work in, freezing in winter and baking, blinding light in summer. However much I like to complain about it, I am grateful for a space to paint in.
Do you have any studio rituals?
I try to get into my “studio”, actually I never think of it as that . I see it more of a space, somewhere that I paint.
A studio sounds “grand” and I don’t see myself as that, it’s just me trying to paint , fighting with my inner demons in an attempt to express myself. I would love to get up and just paint but that’s not possible for me, so I usually start work around 10 am if I’m lucky with a coffee in hand to mull over thoughts. I need my work around me to remind myself of where I’ve been going but sometimes this becomes a negative and I destroy the previous day or days work because I feel it’s inadequate .
What are you working on currently?
It feels to me as if I’m working on everything and nothing. It’s that constant striving for something beyond mediocrity. An image which finds a language to say what I want to say and conveys that to the viewer . I tell myself that I have to keep going, ploughing through the chaos and that one day it might begin to make sense.
Where can we buy your art?
I showed a few pieces at Flux that resonated some of the things I have been talking about. I will be selling more artwork on the FLUX website which will be available within the next few weeks.
What are your ambitions?
I hope to produce an image that will have lasting value. An image or images that one day might have that “inexplicable something” , I spoke of earlier.