Exposition Art Blog: Margery Edwards

Margery Edwards

Margery Edwards (1933–1989) was an Australian Abstract Expressionist artist working in mixed media."Born in Newcastle, NSW, in 1933, Edwards was the daughter of a civil engineer. As a child, she was fortunate to be allowed to accompany him on trips into the bush, where he worked on water supply projects. Experiencing the beauty and immensity of the landscape and observing the lives of the people who worked it probably shaped Edwards’ strong affinity for the bush, and helped to develop the spirituality that permeated her work throughout her life.According to her niece, Geraldine Griffin, the Edwards family moved to the north shore of Sydney, to Lindfield. Here, she went to school and later trained as a nurse, achieving BA (Hons) in nursing in 1956, at 23 years of age. However, meeting her future husband, David Edwards, a research physician, later changed the predicted course of her life.Between 1959 and 1960, Edwards was resident in New York. The next year, in her late twenties, Edwards returned to Sydney and started her art training. Initially she took private tuition with Dora Jarret (1904-1983), a French trained Australian painter, printmaker and teacher. Desiderius Oban (1884-1986), a renowned Hungarian-born Australian painter and printmaker, and one of the last post-impressionist style painters in the art world, was also her teacher. Themes of a philosophical and reflective nature along with explorations of spirituality, were shared with her contemporary, Rodney Milgate (1934) now a highly regarded poet, writer and playwright. Significantly both Oban and Milgate were of a spiritual nature (and winners of the Blake Prize for Religious Art), which may have played an important influence in Edwards’ ongoing artistic and spiritualistic expression.In 1969, Edwards studied in Milan at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, the purpose of which was “to provide teaching in the arts to craftsmen and private artists subject to public supervision and public opinion”. From Italy, Edwards travelled to the Morley College of Art in London, arriving in 1970. Morley College, not unlike the Bauhaus, offered a wide education in all the arts and crafts, drama, dance and music and would have given Edwards a well-rounded artistic grounding, as well as developing her painting and printmaking skills.In the early 1970s, Edwards had already started exhibiting her work. Two one-woman shows were held at the Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, and another two in Milan. Her earlier work, as seen in Mother and Child: 1971 and Eyes of a Labyrinth: 1971 is both rhythmic and dynamic, while the simpler Two Circles and a Line: 1971 and Geometric: 1970, are concerned with volume, space and balance."(margeryedwards.com)In 1985, Edwards' black paint began to merge into deep colors: ochres, earthy reds and deep blues. These paintings, writes curator Jeanne Wilkinson, "portrayed darkness as a universal constant; not empty but filled with some mysterious presence; an origin, not a lack of light".

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