THE SIX FOOT GALLERY INTERVIEW: Mary Harker (Print Unleashed)

Mary Harker is a Glasgow-based artist studying painting and printmaking at the M.Litt Fine Art practice at The Glasgow School of Art.  She explores research themes of ageing, identity, memory, and loss. Her work spans drawing, painting, and various experimental mediums, exploring communication beyond traditional boundaries such as frames and surfaces. Art serves as her medium for processing daily experiences. Light and shadow play a pivotal role in Mary’s work, offering blurred and fragmented representations of the transient nature of both light and life.

See Mary’s work as part of Print Unleashed, which runs at Six Foot Gallery until July 18th 2024.

Hi Mary! Can you tell us how you arrived at the theme of your work?
My research proposal is autoethnographical; based on personal experience of time as my mum’s carer and the resultant feeling of loss when she passed away.  

Can you walk us through your creative process?
Art is the place where I can reassess, reassemble and make sense of my daily experiences. Visual art practice allows self-exploration to understand who you are and your response to the world around you.  In my current practice, I am drawn to make paintings that convey the presence of people, despite their absence, through the objects they possess.  This has subconsciously become a theme throughout my work.  Objects and places often carry our memories and so become a form of biography and/or autobiography.  The power of the objects can be bestowed through their setting and their removal from that setting can lead to a falling away of their meaning.  Experimentation is a strong element in my practice, for instance, in discovering effective ways to visually represent intangibles, such as fading memory with its moments of lucidity, through masking and revealing, use of fragments, or soft and sharp focus.  

How do you know when a piece is finished?
I don’t think a piece is ever fully finished but I stop when I feel it isn’t moving forward or when it has sparked an idea for another piece.  I often return months or years later to rework.

How do you overcome creative blocks?
Don’t wait for inspiration, just turn up and work without pre-judgement of the idea.  I try to establish a daily routine to create productive working habits.  New possibilities will grow from doing.

Which artists inspire you? 
Too many to list! I’m currently interested in Andrew Cranston and the link through his work back to old favourites Bonnard and Vuillard.

What emotions or reactions do you hope viewers experience when they see your artwork?
Throughout my creative practice I strive to identify a voice that others will recognize through life experiences we have in common.

Keep up with Mary’s artistic journey on Instagram @mary__harker

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