artist statement

Margaret Witschl at work. Photo by Jean Lee.
Photo by Jean Lee

The visual expression of anxiety is not captured in pictures of scary things or in the images associated with historical superstition, such as black cats. It doesn't rely on a painting style which is either wildly frenetic or hauntingly sparse, or on particular colour. The feeling of anxious agitation, ranging from gentle disquiet, to nagging worry, to full blown terror, is created when the predictable meets the irrational.

The most frightening experience of my childhood occurred when my older sisters, the sharers of my comfortable, safe and consistent home life, became, in play, crazed hobgoblins.

In these paintings, “the predictable” is established by the use of a logical geometric pattern which underpins and directs the arrangement of the surface images.  This basic repetitive pattern is there to suggest constancy, equilibrium, and perhaps security.

Over this pattern, like a second skin, is the “irrational” content.  Some of these images are stereotypical in their association with fear – weapons, fire, broken glass. Most are mundane.  Some are drawn from my personal diary of events gone awry, worrisome visions and fretful dreams.

The work has been influenced by research into two aspects of Surrealism – games and collage.

My game, like aspects of the Surrealist game “exquisite corpse”, forces images into specific, delineated spaces to conform to the demand of the underlying structure.

My collage, a painted rather than the traditional cut-and-paste variety,  initially isolates images and then recombines them in new relationships, open to second thought.

Margaret Witschl


© 2004-2013 Margaret Witschl. Site by Accord.