An urban person with an intense love of nature: this seeming contradiction is at the core of Margaret Glew’s work. In her paintings, the urban grid strives, but fails, to contain the fierce energy of organic forms. This tension between the urban and the natural, between the manmade and the organic, between calm contemplation and furious gesture, between the rational and the intuitive, is the driving force behind her work.
Born in the UK, Glew grew up in the Canadian Maritimes, where the woods were right across the road, and the ocean never too far away. Her love of wildness began there. Drawing the natural world, and especially animals, was an important part of her childhood. By her late teens, though, the wider world was calling. In the city, first Toronto, and then London, England, she discovered the world of art and art galleries. Looking at the work in major galleries, along with life drawing, first at Camberwell School of Art in London, and later at Central Tech in Toronto, formed the basis of her art education. After a period of travel, in both Europe and North America, she settled in Toronto in about 1975. It was not however until the late eighties, when her youngest child was in school full time, that she began painting in earnest. She has never looked back!
Since then, Glew’s work has been exhibited widely in Canada and the United States. She has been the recipient of several grants, and her work has been the subject of a number of essays. She is represented in a number of public and corporate collections in her hometown.
Painting is of the body. It is hand and eye, gesture and movement. It is thinking without words. It is memory that resides in skin and muscle and bone. It is breathing underwater. It is improbable. It is where I feel most alive.