Marie Doyle

“My work is always searching for harmony and balance in the colour and shapes I paint and how they talk to each other, the positioning. It’s like being an acrobat,” Marie Boyle laughs, as we chat about her new exhibition Visual Poems.

The Oxford artist will be displaying 10 large still life paintings and some smaller works in the Dantzig Gallery’s Market Street window in Woodstock from February 1, in what is a first for both her and Dantzig.

Internationally-renowned artist David Freud – son of the 20th-century’s foremost portraitist Lucian Freud – will follow in March, in the new monthly concept exhibition #WoodstockWindow

The problem comes when you finish a piece of art because unless galleries are hosting online shows, there is nowhere to exhibit – everything has been cancelled

So how does Marie, a member of the Oxford Art Society and associate member of the Penwith Gallery in St Ives, feel about this hybrid between online and real? “I love the idea of people being able to see my work in the flesh rather than online, so it’s a real pleasure and honour to be asked,” she says.

“It means people have time to study the works for as long as they want without the restrictions of being inside a gallery, but can still buy it, even during lockdown.”

Visual Poems will encompass Marie’s take on colour and shape: “I like to think that the subjects in my paintings have a certain poetry. Yes my work is quite decorative, but there is a poetry to the shapes and colours within,” she says.

Marie Boyle

“I rarely work from observation, it’s usually from memory, and it’s very rare for me to paint what is in front of me. Instead I like things to be stylised, to capture the essence…”

Her subject matter is therefore all about shape – cups, lemons and fish, people stylised like bottles…”I like their shapes – the squares, triangles, rounds and the space between them. But I’m better at colour than words,” she laughs again.

So how is Marie finding lockdown? “It’s not that different because most artists have a studio at home, and artists are fairly solitary creatures anyway, working alone most of the time. That’s just the way it is.

“The problem comes when you finish a piece of art because unless galleries are hosting online shows, there is nowhere to exhibit, everything has been cancelled. So to be asked to be part of Dantzig’s #woodstockwindows is a blessing,” she says.

But she concedes that Covid has also had an effect on her art itself: “In lockdown I’ve used a softer palette and more vivid, joyous, brighter colour.”

Marie, whose French accent is as strong as when she first moved to Oxford 30 years ago, has been exhibiting smaller pieces at Dantzig for four years but the new exhibition means she can include a greater variety of her work and some larger pieces too.

Oxford’s Marie Boyle at work

So who is Marie Boyle and how has she become one of Oxford’s most revered artists?

Marie studied graphic design in Paris, (which she says is evident in her work), and then followed a career in advertising before moving to Oxford, where she took up painting under the tuition of Prue Pardue RA, and the St Ives school of Art.

“My work just evolved from there. Sometimes my work is expressive, other times abstract and figurative. I just like to be free enough to evolve, and while I love painting for a gallery or exhibition, ultimately I have to paint for me, so it’s about finding a balance,” the Summertown artists says.

Marie is also a keen photographer, ceramicist and sculptor and is currently working on a series of bronze figurines.

The #woodstockwindows exhibition begins at Woodstock’s Dantzig Gallery on February 1 with Marie Boyle followed by David Freud on March 1.

For further details or to buy a piece from Dantzig’s Gallery ring 07977324935, email or direct message on Instagram

A click and collect service is also available

Katherine MacAlister


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