Margherita Muller was born in Anzio, in 1963 and spent much of her life near, or on the sea. She has undertaken several courses of study, from Accademia delle Belle Arti di Roma in 1986 to a MLitt in Literature Culture and Place in 2012. She is currently taking a break from structured studies, and is dedicating her time to experiments in printmaking and 3-D printing.
The works of Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stevension and Ian Hamilton Finlay are some of Margherita’s sources of inspiration, providing stimuli and ideas for visuals on canvas, paper or sculptures. A yearning for the sea is to be found in both Conrad’s stories and Finlay’s exhophoric references, ideas and topics that Margherita turns into semi-figurative painting, woodblock prints or etchings. She also enjoys returning to oil painting on canvas, and watercolour for outdoor sketching.
"In the beginning I took up drawing as a child, the basic creative expression of every little human. While growing up, I simply could not stop drawing or painting, and I was repetitively drawing faces and other body parts. This led me to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Rome, specialising in nudes. My favourite body part has always been the Sternum, which I see as the ‘center’ and also offers interesting plays on words.
In later years, I was mentored and tutored by Ada Impallara, and later gained a diploma from her Academy of Visual Arts in 2000. Her tuition was oriented towards abstraction and landscapes, and although I did not reflect upon this at the time, it made a long term impact on my development. Bodies became icons, and clothes were used to show a hieratic aura that was no longer human. Faces became less and less detailed.
There was a transition of focus from faces to a hint, or silhouette of the human. People are still present, but they are not important in themselves, they are instead a crucial element of the landscape.
My most successful exhibition was called ‘Onda’ (Wave) – dealing with waves and tsunamis with awkward shapes. The images were very distinctive, and appeared possessed by a supernatural force, as the movement of the water often showed odd movements within its direction.
For a few years I explored the Western Isles of Scotland, before deciding to leave Italy permanently and move to Scotland, where I now live and work.
In 2012 I obtained a bursary for a MLitt in Literature Culture and Place, and since then I have solely focused on place and landscape. The natural beauty of Scotland, which had always fascinated me, started to take front place in 2012, when I finalised my dissertation on ‘three Scottish gardens’.
I like painting outdoors whenever possible – because there is nothing else like being there, where I can feel the wind and hear the water.
The sea is my special place because it is a non-place. I was born in Anzio, but spent much of my childhood in Cannes. In Scotland, wherever I am, the sea is easy to reach. It is a healing place for me, and never fails to inspire future paintings. If I sometimes miss the Mediterranean warmth, on the other hand I know that the Northern Seas are still part of a greater water mass.
The emotional attachment I have to the sea can be summarised by a smell of algae and iodine and a song by Charles Trenet: ‘La Mer’."