• Artist page

    Mary Husted



  • About Mary Husted

    Mary Husted’s collaged works include boxes and tables incorporating images, words and textured surfaces. The collaged fragments are transformed by their context, while still retaining hints of their origins. In these works she recalls memories and visual experiences in order to delve into her main themes of identity and location. In her three-dimensional wall-mounted boxes she frequently uses mirrors to experiment with the interplay between real and illusory space. The reflections and play of light on the mirrors change depending on where the viewer is standing and the impression is created that the interior is larger than it is in reality.

    Dreams, Oracles, Icons [1991]
    Painted collage, 91.5 x 91.5 x 6 cms
    Donated by the artist 1992

    This work formed the basis of an exhibition is a story of a loss and a finding.

    'As a teenage girl in 1963 I gave up my firstborn son for adoption at ten days old. In those first few days I had drawn him: a handful of pencil drawings. These and one small photograph were all I would have of him in the ensuing years. For a long time I tried to bury the memory of his loss.

    In 1991 after graduating as a mature student, I made a painting alluding to this experience: Dreams, Memories, Icons; In 1992 this work was selected for inclusion in the new collection of women's art for New Hall. In October 2007 I found an email in my junk-box: 'Family Tree'. It was my son, searching for me. He had found me on the New Hall Art website, seen the painting, recognized it was about him and emailed the address above it. A fortnight later we met.

    The only way I could know the child I lost was by drawing him. The drawings I had made of him as an infant, together with drawings of him now, and drawings of him from photographs as a child, have become the source of a whole new body of work. They form the main substance of this exhibition, which also contains a collaborative projection work by the two of us.'

    Mary spoke with Jane Garvey on Woman's Hour on Radio 4 about her incredible story and its influence on her artistic practise. You can listen to this interview again on the BBC iPlayer by following the link on the Woman's Hour website.

    Table [1993]
    Collaged table with glass top, 40 x 61 x 61 cms
    Donated by the artist 1993

    Alliteration [1993]
    Painted collage with mirrors, 91 x 150 x 17 cms
    Donated by the artist 1996.

    As if from Nowhere [1993]
    Oil on board, relief, 120 x 107 cms
    Donated by the artist 2003.

    MY FAVOURITE WORK: Dr Joan Hinde, Emeritus Fellow

    From the time she was little, our daughter Camilla enjoyed looking after various animals, including hand-rearing a great tit chick our cat had brought in.  We have photos of her over the years holding a young animal in the very same, reflective and maternal pose as the young girl in "Dreams, Oracles, Icons". Whenever I passed this image on the staircase on the way to Hall I thought of Camilla, who remembers me pointing it out to her when it first arrived.

     Now, Camilla’s research career involves mechanisms of parental care in great tits, and she has just given birth to her own infant daughter.  We were both touched when we recently saw Mary Husted’s webpage (listed above), with the amazing story of how Mary came to paint it as a way of dealing with her loss and the painting’s role in a reunion.

     "Dreams" continues to have a special meaning for each of us.  Thank you to Mary Husted for her generosity to the College over the years, and for this work in particular.