Marguerite Horner has just arrived at the Star Gallery and 30 or so of her works are lying and sitting in bubble-wrapped piles around the room. I help her to unwrap them, and her world materialises around me as she props the canvases against the whitewashed walls. We unwrap the large ones first. They depict natural scenes in shades of grey, with bright white interludes. She has used her oils sparingly. She has a blonde bob and piercing blue eyes and an expressive mouth. Occasionally she stops unwrapping and starts talking. “A body of work explains something which resonates with me,” she says. “I use external stimuli to explain something which I can’t put into words. I get a notion and I inch my way towards it.” She makes sketches or takes photographs and works from them. One of her paintings is set in the hills near Litlington, others in Cornwall. All of them are set inside her head. “I’m trying to pin down ephemeral moments,” she says. “A given moment in time is our only link with eternity. You are a series of your yous. The paintings are arresting one of these moments. It’s like a diary. I’m trying to make a sense of the flux around me.”

We stop talking for a bit and I contemplate the paintings that have been unwrapped. They are remarkable. She has virtually banished colours from her palette, but the canvases burst with spirit. They are like moods, translated into images. My favourite is called ‘Light from Light’. It depicts the sunlight breaking through a gap in a dark cloud and illuminating a swathe of calm seawater. The eye is drawn to the most intense patches of light: ironically these are where she hasn’t touched the canvas at all. She primes her canvas and adds oils on top. Her art is in painting shadows around the light.

continued overleaf...


Marguerite Horner: “I’m trying to pin down ephemeral moments”