MARIAN FOUNTAIN grew up in New Zealand with a strong visual contact with Maori art, and also an acute sensibility towards the mixing of two cultures.
At the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, where she discovered her oracle and means of expression, Marian learned the techniques of bronze casting. Arriving in Europe in 1984, Marian’s encounter with the multitude of cultures, styles and eras was consolidated with training at the Rome Mint to give her a foundation and a tool to seek a certain essence or universality of imagery. A period of almost archaeological research followed, culminating in an exhibition in the Etruscan room at the Museo Archeologico di Milano, in which she proposed a series of objects from a ‘yet undiscovered’ or ‘possible’ culture.
In contact with contemporary artists from Eastern Europe at a series of symposia during the early 90’s, Marian’s work underwent a transformation, and the ‘metamorphic’ sculptures evolved in direct response to shifting politics and the changed situation for Eastern artists. With her ‘beings’ in transition she was analysing the actual structure of change. Since then, her work has been oriented towards the microscopic universe of the biological structure of life itself, where she is beginning to find a richness of inspiration and answers.
Her work has been exhibited at the British Museum, The National Gallery of Scotland, the Museo Archeologico of Milan, York Museum, Auckland Museum, and the French Mint. Since 1998 she has presented her sculptures in many private locations and two public situations: at the Mairie of the 10th Arrondissement, Paris, and in Le Quesnoy in the North of France, for the First World War commemorations: “The Land Remembers”.
A bas relief 3.5m wide, destined for a garage door for a private home in Montmartre, Paris, was comissioned in 2001. She designed and made the medals for the America’s Cup in 2003, for the “Entente Cordiale” in 2004, and for the Friends of Birmingham Museums in 2007. In 2008 she worked on a series of 35 bas reliefs, for the corridors of the Royal Infirmary Hospital of Edinburgh.
Marian is a Member of the Fédération Internationale de la Médaille (FIDEM) and the British Art Medal Society (BAMS). Her work is held in the collections of the British Museum, Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC, Auckland Museum, York Museum, Goldsmiths, London and in private collections around the world. Now living in Paris, Marian returns to New Zealand biennially to exhibit her work..
Artis Gallery, Auckland
Fountain on Saatchi Online website
Commission for the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, 2009
‘Remote Control’ exhibition February 2010, on The Big Idea website
British Arts Medal Society website features three of Fountain’s medals
Contemporary New Zealand Art 5, by Elizabeth Caughey (David Bateman, 2008)
‘The Medal’ (No.55), ‘Marian Fountain, Where are You?’ by Mark Stocker, 2009. Published by the British Art Medal Trust in Association with FIDEM (Fédération Internationale de la Médaille d’Art)
Mark Stocker, ‘Marian Fountain: An Aotearoa Parisian Artist’, Art New Zealand 131 Winter 2009