Marguerite Horner is a doer! She is one of the more active painters on the London art scene today whether it be the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition or one of the many pop-up shows that Artlyst champions. Her work isn’t easily slotted into a category other than it is extremely competent and always contains challenging subject matter. Her latest show ‘Keep me safe’ asks, what is our greatest need when we are faced with trauma? Ms Horner pondered this when, with a group gathered together by the Comboni Missionary Sisters, she visited the first Calais Jungle around Christmas 2014. They were going there on a humanitarian basis, bringing donated clothes and food.
“Her Paintings lift the ordinary into the extraordinary and the specific into the universal” – Lady Marina Vaizey
At the time, the Jungle was hardly known and few people were daring to visit. The group went in wearing two coats so that they were able to take one off and give it away to anyone looking cold. Marguerite gave hers to a young boy hiding his face under a red scarf; it was a girls’ Primark coat, it was too small but it managed to keep him warmer.
Over the next few visits, the group went back to the Jungle and took more clothes, shoes, trainers and food. Within a year the refugees were moved to another site, the world took notice and a small town grew. But now that camp is demolished and refugees are reported to be camping out again in the woods, just as they did in the first jungle camp.
At times of trauma, it helps to stop the mind being consumed by fear of the future and dwelling on the past. Both aspects of time we cannot change or
affect, as we can only deal and act on the present moment. Sometimes, as an aid to bringing the mind back to the present, there is a need to focus on what is around us and experience the current moment. Similar to the way extreme beauty can arrest our attention and silence our thoughts.
These moments of beauty we often see in natural phenomena; they seem to break through the stream of time and lift us into something outside it, providing temporary respite from trauma and helping us to recover ourselves.
For this solo show ‘Keep me safe’, Horner has painted images of her experience of going to the first Calais Jungle, alongside small paintings of perceived moments that arrested her own internal dialogue, freezing it in time and mirroring it into a metaphorical visual shape.
Marguerite Horner ‘Keep me Safe’ 2 – 10 May 2017 Private View: Tuesday 2nd May 2017¨ 6-00 – 8:30 pm Westminster Reference Library 35, St Martin’s Street London WC2H 7HP¨