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Life & Style

Get in the mood

An exhibition opening this week tries to illustrate various feelings. ALIX NORMAN gets drawn in

Moods. We’re all subject to them; they control our thoughts, emotions and day-to-day behaviours. We talk about mood swings, moodiness, and being in – or out – of the mood. It’s a word that encompasses so much, but what, perhaps, we cannot do is give moods a visual form. Or certainly not in the way that artist and educator Marion Pascali has achieved with her first solo exhibition, opening at Diatopos Gallery this coming Tuesday.

With a total of 30 mixed media works on display, the pieces have been two years in the making, due not only to the elusive quality of many of the moods the artist has attempted to capture, but also to the more physical matter of the time constraints placed upon an art teacher: “It’s very challenging to be both an artist and a teacher,” says Marion, thoughtfully. “As a teacher you dedicate so much time and energy to school, not only in your lessons and structuring your classes, but also bearing in mind that you’re dealing with individuals who need personal care and attention. You’re feeding them with knowledge and taking care of their whole wellbeing, which takes a lot out of you.

“And in some ways,” she continues, “this exhibition began as the need to survive. Not to escape, but to travel in a journey of self-exploration and self-analysis,” she says of the mixed media works which she refers to as ‘drawings’. “If you look at the etymological sense of the word ‘skedio’ – the Greek word for drawing – you find it’s connected to how to fight a war and how to survive. And even in English the word drawing is connected to how to fight a battle, a war; think of drawing a bow,” she explains. “It’s easy to feel suffocated by everyday life and everyday problems, and art helps offer a solution. It’s a life jacket, a raft over the stormy seas of life and a weapon,” she adds.

Employing mixed media – pencil, pastel, gouache, Japanese paper and fabric – “using materials instinctively but never randomly” Marion began her work from her mother’s dining room table. “I didn’t have a studio when I started these pieces,” she clarifies, “but the need to work was there.” Using materials that wouldn’t dirty the space, and constrained by the proportions of her workspace, Marion nevertheless feels that she has managed to transform this restriction of space into something beautiful. And adding materials piece by piece in her quest to capture each mood, Marion has clearly put a great deal of her character and emotions into the 30 vibrant, haunting pieces.

“My inspiration comes from my everyday life, from books and from looking at other artists,” she says, noting that one’s teachers are often the masters of the past. Having studied for her BA in Fine Art in Florence, and her MA in Text and Performance at Kings College London and RADA, Marion brings a great deal of the understanding of art and art history to her work: “I look at as many artists as possible,” she explains of her process. “Lately I’ve been very passionate about El Greco, drawn to the verticality of his works, and this has influenced a number of my more recent pieces,” she says, referencing two works titled ‘Wrapped Up in Thought’ and ‘Liberation’.

With each work taking between three days and an entire year to perfect, Marion is constantly searching for the best possible aesthetic solution and the most effective way to portray each mood. “’Galloping’ took almost twelve months,” she laughs, “before I felt I had truly captured the feeling of air, the lightness and movement of the mood. I often find that if an emotion or a sensation is mature inside me, then it magically appears on the paper. If not, then it takes a huge amount of time to resolve the aesthetic problems in a way that completely serves the idea and the concept.”

It’s an exhibition that will no doubt communicate volumes to its viewers. At a time when so many of us are seeking relief from our burgeoning worries through a more inward journey of self-exploration, Marion has captured the general mood almost exactly with her vital and engaging images of the emotions that consume our everyday lives. So head down to Diatopos Gallery for the opening this Tuesday evening, and see the intangible made real: the mood of the times.

An exhibition of mixed media works by Marion Pascali opens at Diatopos Gallery on Tuesday December 3 at 8pm. The exhibition will run until December 28. For further details, contact Diatopos Gallery on 22 766117 or visit


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