“My childhood was spent dancing. It was my first identity and my first mode of expression as an artist, and one that continues to inform my work to this day. When I begin working on a new piece, I see the paper or canvas as an empty stage and the line as movement. Texture, form, and the way that colors interact are all different manifestations of motion, rhythm, and energy.
While my work is abstract, it can at times evoke shapes and patterns found in nature. I often work in ongoing series, developing a language and following it as it morphs and evolves. Some of my series are more driven by mark making and layers of color, and in others the shapes and the way they interplay are the dynamic force, but in all my work I’m concerned with movement and the overall music of the piece.” — MG
Born in North Carolina and raised in Pennsylvania, Margaret Garrett currently lives and maintains a studio on Shelter Island, New York. She left home at the age of 16 to join the Pennsylvania Ballet Company and later joined the Cleveland Ballet as a soloist. At the age of 22, she began painting, finding a spiritual connection to dance in the movement of line and color.
Garrett’s work has been widely exhibited in galleries, museums and art fairs, including the Parrish Art Museum, the Watermill Center, the Heckscher Museum, Danese/Corey, Art Miami, Art on Paper and the Armory Show. In 2018, she was awarded a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work is held in the Parrish Art Museum and Guild Hall Museum and in numerous private and corporate collections in the United States and Europe.
rotating exhibit of current & recently sold work
MARGARET GARRETT speaks to folioeast’s COCO MYERS
CM/ WHAT MEDIA ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING IN?
MG/ Acrylic on paper and linen. I like that acrylic dries faster and allows me to work more quickly. I'm also doing a lot of work with film now, using my iPhone to film and Final Cut Pro to edit.
CM/ CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR LOVE OF DANCE IS INCORPORATED INTO YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
MG/ I see line as movement and I’m fascinated by the choreography of everything. I find myself composing a painting by finding the balance of patterns or deciding where to leave space. I’m also very aware of the rhythm or music of the piece. In dancing I frequently find shapes or motions that capture a certain feeling and I incorporate these into my artwork.
CM/ HOW DOES THIS AREA INFLUENCE OR INFILTRATE YOUR WORK?
MG/ The light and space has a huge effect on my work and on my psyche. This area has also become such a center for art-making, so it's wonderful to live where there is a community of artists to share work and ideas with.
CM/ DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE SPOTS ON THE EAST END?
MG/ I live on the beach on Shelter Island and I love the beach, especially watching the light on the water. I like to take walks around the island and in Mashomack Preserve. I like going out in Sag Harbor with friends. And of course, I love the Parrish and Guild Hall!
CM/ DO YOU HAVE ANY WORKS BY EAST END ARTISTS IN YOUR HOME?
MG/ I have a watercolor by Eric Fischl, a work on paper by David Salle, a photograph by Ralph Gibson and a painting on paper by George Negroponte. I would love to have many more—too many to name!