Mary Reardon

Reardon, Mary

July 2010


These painterly works are reminiscent of traditional still life oil paintings in which strong composition creates a sense of presence in the work. Mary pushes this tradition, blending depth and restraint, communicating to the viewer through her sophisticated palette and symbolic language. These pieces are an attempt to understand an abstract process through visual interpretation; a quiet but powerful statement on the mysteries of memory.

“My work concerns itself with the theme of memory. The sum of our memories is the essence of who we are as individuals, and yet the process our minds use when remembering or forgetting is invisible to us. I attempt, through my paintings, to describe how this process looks.

In order to effect this description, I have turned to one of the traditions of the still life – the use of objects as symbols. The bird has been used, throughout the history of the visual arts, to represent the human soul. Following this tradition, I use the feather to represent the human soul or, in psychological terms, our memories. The containers, nests, and branches I have depicted are meant to represent the physical mind and how it functions as it holds, or fails to hold, those memories.

The viewer, once aware of the symbolism of the objects may, in effect, ‘read’ my still lifes much like lines of text – describing how the mind looks at the moment when something is remembered or forgotten. Indeed, often I use an object such as a red marble to cause the viewer’s eye to pause – something that could be seen as the equivalence of punctuation.

Skies and clouds, in more recent paintings, create a suggestion of a particular state of mind for me. In some works, the ‘landscape’ is sometimes simply alluded to with the use of an object such as a twig or a leafing branch.

The reflection of objects in the surface of other objects alludes to the literal act of remembering (or reflecting) as well as introducing another level to the symbolism of the objects.”

About Mary Reardon

Mary is a native of Halifax and attended the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. While studying at NSCAD Mary completed a body of work in the Printmaking Department that, through the use of bird imagery, described the ways in which memories came back to us. “Messengers” became her graduating show.

Following her graduation, Mary continued her work describing the process of memory using the tradition of still life, through the medium of paint, to create visual metaphors for moments when something is remembered or forgotten.

Mary has participated in numerous group and solo shows. She received a first place award from the MAX I Exhibition in New Brunswick; the Prize for Visual Arts from the publication “Harpweaver” at Queen’s University, Ontario; a Diploma of Excellence at the 4th International Female Artists’ Art Annual in Sweden; and the Juror’s Choice Award from the Women’s Art Association, Ontario. Her work is held in public, corporate and private collections.

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