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.