Born as a Christian orthodox I was exposed to icons from an early age, although going to the church was not such a popular activity in Communist times. For the ones interested in Christian iconography Romania is quite a destination! For example, the painted monasteries in Moldova - listed in UNESCO's list of World Heritage site - provide an infinite source of amazement and inspiration.
For all of us there is a moment in time - be it meeting an inspiring person, or artist, or seeing a book, or visiting an exhibition - that inspires us, changes the way we look at things, the way we interpret the reality around us.
Mary Beaney had such a moment 18 months ago when she visited a "Byzantine Art" exhibition at the Royal Academy in London.
Portraits have always occupied a special place in her art, ever since she studied at Southdown College a place where she met like minded people, people who became her friends and for many years co-exhibitors. The college encouraged her to investigate various forms of media from oils to printmaking, from drawing to ceramics in a continuous search for the perfect painting, a search for that special thing, the thing that motivates...............the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, what about Mary? For her art is a way of projecting emotions onto the hungry canvas. As simple as that!
So, the last 18 months brought a new dimension into Mary's paintings. It allowed her to combine her lifelong passion for portrait art with her interest in Byzantine Art ........ giving icons a contemporary feel.
You will surely be intrigued by the images that populate Mary's paintings. They all have a story and they all tell a story. Listening to Mary telling the story of an old, very old picture album discovered not a long time ago in a dark corner of the attic is intriguing and mysterious. She incorporates them, the fading, monochrome images from the past, in the Byzantium inspired paintings and this is when magic starts and another story unfolds.
As for the viewer, trust me .......... you will never look at that old, shabby photo album you inherited from your loved ones in the same way. It will inspire you to start start discovering your own roots, discovering your family's hidden stories, maybe even expressing them creatively in a collage, or a poem, or a story. Because her work inspires, her paintings take you by the hand and invite you to imagine, dream, create your own story. Check on the following link and you will enter into Mary's world
Painting is not a smooth journey! It never is, it never will be. Painting is an all consuming process. One that leaves you empty of emotions, frustrated, sad and also happy, absorbed in a world of fantasy, enthusiastic, passionate. Painting is just like stepping in a tunnel and searching for the light!
You can meet Mary and enjoy her art in August together with other members of Artflow. Artflow is a recently formed group of semi professional artists living and working in the Sussex region. The members of the group also exhibit individually and with other groups and galleries. For more information visit http://www.artflowsussex.co.uk/.