about…

Mari French is emerging as one of East Anglia’s most respected abstract painters. She grew up in Manchester close to the Pennine Hills, originally working as a graphic designer. She then lived for several years on the Isle of Skye developing her abstract landscapes. Mari now lives in Norfolk, working as a full-time artist, from her studio on a former 1930s RAF airbase.
The roots of her paintings lie in her deep-seated affinity with landscape and weather, capturing the elemental forces of wild and less-visited landscapes. She says about her creative process “I try to evoke the shift of weather and light on a place and this is reflected in the sense of movement and change in the work itself. I sketch on location but in the studio I work instinctively, using a variety of media to evoke my experience of a place rather than a representation”.
Mari has exhibited widely; her work is regularly selected for the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours (RI) exhibitions at the Mall Galleries, London; she has also exhibited with The Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) at Bankside Gallery, London; was a finalist in Artist & Illustrator Magazine’s ‘Artist of the Year’ 2016; and a finalist in The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2014.
Her work has been featured in both the ‘Artist’ and ‘Artist & Illustrator’ magazines as well as in several art books and is held in private collections around the world. She is a member of the Institute of East Anglian Artists (IEA).

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS:

2020:
‘Forgotten Places’, two-artist exhibition, Gallery East, Woodbridge.
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Mall Galleries, London.
Restlessness 2 – the East Anglian Landscape’, Gallery East, Woodbridge.
Elements, solo exhibition, Utopia Unexpected, Holt, North Norfolk.
2019:
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Mall Galleries, London.
Royal Watercolour Society ‘Contemporary Watercolours’, Bankside Gallery, London.
‘Surface history’ solo exhibition, Grapevine Gallery, Burnham Market, Norfolk.
‘Restlessness – the East Anglian Landscape’ Gallery East, Woodbridge, Suffolk.
‘Surface: women abstract artists in East Anglia’, Gallery East, Woodbridge.
2018:
‘Fragile coast’ solo exhibition, Grapevine Gallery, Burnham Market, Norfolk.
Gallery Different, London, mixed exhibition with Sheridan Russell Gallery.
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Mall Galleries, London.
Royal Watercolour Society ‘Contemporary Watercolours’, Bankside Gallery.
2017:
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Mall Galleries, London.
Thompsons Gallery, Aldeburgh, Autumn Exhibition.
Cricket Fine Art, Chelsea, London, Summer exhibition.
‘Painters’, Black Barn, Cockley Cley, Norfolk.
‘Across the water’, Artichoke Gallery, East Sussex.
2016:
Artists & Illustrators’ Artist of the Year Finalist, Mall Galleries, London
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Mall Galleries.
‘Salt & Sand’ solo exhibition, Grapevine Gallery, Burnham Market, Norfolk.
Cley Contemporary 16, curated exhibition, North Norfolk.
2015:
‘PAiNT’, The Undercroft, Norwich, Norfolk.
The Sutton Gallery, Edinburgh, mixed exhibition.
Thompsons Gallery, Aldeburgh, mixed exhibitions.
2014:
Finalist, Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition, Mall Galleries.
‘Coastlines’ solo exhibition, Greyfriars Art Space, King’s Lynn.
2013:
‘Beyond the Surface’ solo exhibition, Greyfriars Art Space, King’s Lynn.
Grapevine Gallery, Burnham Market, Norfolk. mixed exhibitions.
2012:
‘Inside Out’, two-artist exhibition, Highgate Contemporary, London.
‘Approaching landscape’, group exhibition, Wymondham Arts Centre, Norfolk.

SELECTED PRESS & PUBLICATIONS:

Artists and Illustrators magazine, Fresh Paint feature, September 2020
‘The Woven Tale Press’ Literature & Fine Art Magazine, featured artist, October, 2019
‘Painting clouds and skies in oils’, guest artist, Mo Teeuw, Crowood Press 2017
The Artist Magazine, feature, July 2016
‘Blyth Spirit’, Alan Marshall, Mascot Media 2014
KL magazine, feature, 2014.
‘How artists see East Anglian Places’, Green Pebble 2010

10 thoughts on “about…

    • I have Nigel, and no it’s not a daft question 😉
      my life as a serious artist took off when I lived on Skye, so much inspiration, you can imagine!
      the move to Norfolk was challenging from the inspiration side of things. though we both love living here, it’s taken a couple of years to find my new passion – the saltmarsh coast; it has a bleak beauty and grandeur all of its own. Norfolk is also well placed for exploring other areas of UK and Europe, so I can see upcoming bodies of work inspired by the North York Moors and Venice.

      • Hello Mari…

        Thanks I knew you had lots of new work from your wonderful paintings on this blog but its that exact transition I was wondering about.

        When I moved to Ireland I had to change a lot of my own visual interests and this took time like yourself. I love your Salt march images Mari and I can see how you can and will dig very deep into these areas as a source for your work.

        I am just starting to look at the peat bogs as I love the work of this artist http://www.pastelsocietyofireland.org/#/sam-mateer/4568792497

        I may even get painting and drawing again!

        Thank you Mari

        Nigel

        • I can imagine the peat bogs of Ireland would be an interesting source of inspiration, Neil. Those pastel images remind me very much of parts of Skye and the Uists. My mum was from Northern Ireland, though her family originated in Co Clare, so you never know, I may end up painting over there one day 🙂
          Thanks for the interesting feedback and chat!

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