Margot Sandeman SSA (1922-2009) A World of Visual Poetry

8th-28th September 2016

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Margot Sandeman 1922-2009, was born in Glasgow. The daughter of Archibald Sandeman 1887-1941, an accomplished artist and Muriel Boyd Sandeman 1887-1981 an internationally known embroiderer who trained with Jessie Newbery at Glasgow School of Art. She grew up in a home that reflected the influence of Edwin Lutyens, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

A student at Glasgow School of Art, Margot's talent was recognised early on by Hugh Adam Crawford, the Head of Drawing and Painting. She and Joan Eardley, who became a close friend, were amongst a very small number of outstanding students selected for special attention. She and Eardley made many painting trips to Corrie, Arran which was her family summer base. Sandeman had an individual style, quite different from most other contemporary Scottish artists. She was a ruminative, romantic painter of pastoral subjects which always have an atmosphere of quiet tranquillity. She painted what she loved, and for her, nature was central.

"One feels that if Margot Sandeman were not a painter she would have been a poet. For her, the thought, the idea, the atmosphere of beautiful trees, shady lanes, sheep as part of the shape of the landscape, are rare, pure and magical things. For her too, the idea of young people, gentle, thoughtful, learning, is something very special - an idealistic vision of beauty, hope and knowledge being brought to the world. And so we get with her paintings a coalescence of the pure beauty of nature with its light and air and colour, and the young figures romantically symbolical of thought, philosophy and poetry, composed into a total visual idea or experience" Cyril Gerber.

Although lyrically simple, Sandeman's work possesses a real rigor and power beneath their apparently gentle exterior. She gave vivid life to the simplest of still lifes, family portraits and landscapes. Her series of large canvases of Bathers, echoing Matisse and Seurat, or a Japanese Master, has austerity, tonal harmony and harnessed energy. She had a passionate love of words and poetry which is evident in her collaborative works with her contemporary Ian Hamilton Finlay, based on his texts and publications from the Wild Hawthorn Press.

The late critic Cordelia Oliver wrote "Among Scottish painters of her time, there is no other whose work reveals such a combination of deep-rootedness in a given place, with an equally strong sense of mind set free to soar into a world of visual poetry."