Our interview with artist Margaret Mee: “Something happens here which has an effect over there”

This week is the last chance to pop into The Elgiva and see our wonderful art exhibition “Reverberations”. We caught up with local artist Margaret Mee to find out more about her work and what this exhibition means to her…

The Elgiva: As a local, community-focused space, The Elgiva is proud to showcase local artists, and Reverberations is fabulous! What does exhibiting locally mean to you as an artist? Is your art influenced by where you live?

Margaret Mee: It’s wonderful to be able to exhibit locally. The Elgiva is a fantastic venue for all sorts of events and my family and I have seen some great performances there over the years, some of which have influenced the pieces in the exhibition. Hopefully knowing that the artist is local makes the work more accessible to people and they can engage with it more and hopefully more of my local community will be able to see my work. Chesham has a huge wealth of artistic talent as can be seen when the annual open studios events are running.

The Elgiva: What drew you to the idea of showing reverberation in art? How have you tackled the concept of showing the ongoing dynamic process of reverberation in a static form?

Margaret Mee: It’s a bit like chaos theory. Something happens here which has an effect over there. The violinist pulls the bow on the stage and an emotional response is felt by a listener, wherever they might be. That emotional response is then translated from sound into lines and tones on my page. Depending on my mood and the mood of the music, the lines might be simple or more complex. The layering in the artworks suggest all the different sounds and textures in the music as well as the emotional response form hearing it.

The Elgiva: Your exhibition showcases reverberation in music and performance, making it ideal for a theatre! Are music and performance important in your life?

Margaret Mee: I don’t play an instrument but love listening to music and going to performances. I often take a sketch book with me and draw when out and about recording ideas and things that catch my attention. The figure and movement have always been a strong feature in my work. I had previously created a series of artworks based on rugby players and also Jujitsu sports men and women. Before the birth of our child I worked in a school with a very strong focus on the performing arts. I would often sit in the balcony during rehearsals and performances and draw what was happening, trying to capture the energy and vitality of the experience. The musician series is interesting as it is combining another shape with the human form. In the drawings and artworks I am trying to capture the relationship with the instrument as well as the sounds and rhythms.

The Elgiva: What appeals to you about working with graphite and charcoal?

Margaret Mee: It is a very versatile and flexible medium and it allows me to be very gestural with marks. It can create a very fluid line as well as intricate detail and strong bold shapes. I am also impatient so it is the perfect media as I don’t have to wait for it to dry.

The Elgiva: What are you working on at the moment?

Margaret Mee: I am continuing with the musicians and have an Exhibition in Berkhamsted over the next couple of weeks. I have also been creating artworks with our six-year-old daughter which have predominantly animals or patterns as a theme, in part, influenced by many trips to Whipsnade Zoo. In creating work with her I have to learn to not be so precious about what I draw and to accept how she wants to create a composition and allow her to alter my drawings to fit her concept.

Reverberations is free to view whenever The Elgiva is open (until Friday 25th September) and pieces and limited edition prints are available to purchase through the Box Office. Margaret’s website can be found here.

21st September 2020