In my quest to create work that is relevant to my life and the daily lives of others, my subject matter often celebrates nature and the ordinary. I have always been attracted to the marks and traces that the passage of time leaves on both objects and living things. They are a reminder of the impermanence of our lives and the uselessness of material attraction. Discarded artifacts, debris from a collapsed building, tools, household items or peeling layers of wallpaper or paint, affected by use or erosion, have the power to both reference life and to transport the viewer to another time. Although these objects are ordinary and marred, they have a precarious beauty that cannot be ignored. Flowers have a similar appeal while offering a different perspective on the passage of time, one that carries the hope of renewal within the rhythmic patterns of growth and decay. This content in my work is often supplemented by the inclusion of decorative motifs and repetitive patterning found in decorative arts which consistently link nature and culture.
Duality is evident in my work - abstraction and representation, order and abandon, joy and sadness, life and death. My process is immediate, intuitive and regulated by the act of creation. I begin with an idea, experience, image or materials; the composition built up in layers provides an opportunity to respond in the moment and to slowly come to terms with the subject and my feelings about it. The end result of this intuitive process is both emotive and rational.
Touch has always been my most developed sense; I am attracted to immediate, tactile processes and sensuous materials. I like the surfaces of my work to provide layers of information built up with fragments — some muted or obscured others highly visible. These surfaces provide traces of my process as well as content. I use photo transfer, acrylic paint, natural fiber papers and other ephemera in conjunction with acrylic mediums and gels. My use of intimate scale and an emphasis on surface beauty are important vehicles to encourage viewers to pause and consider what has been created. Permanence, temporality, change, memory, life and loss — all these weave through my work.
-Margaret M. Ryall