Margriet Hogue is an artist who populates the bleakness of long Canadian winters, of pandemic lockdown, with the vividness of her color palette. Her mixed media is dynamic and textural, blending fabrics and textiles with ink, paper, acrylic, and more to create a visual effect that can feel elemental. Art Editor Arah Ko and Associate Art Editor Hannah Nahar asked Hogue about the inspirations layered into her abstract art.
Arah Ko: Can you share your process with us? How do you decide what colors and mediums to include?
Margriet Hogue: Generally I have an idea as to the colors I’ll use but that can change along the way. I always collage paper down first as it adds texture and sometimes bits will show through when I sand. I love seeing text peeking through even if it’s just faint. I am somewhat influenced by the colors of the seasons although I do need to throw in color in the middle of the winter. After several layers of paint and paper, I’ll decide if I want to add fabric.
Hannah Nahar: What themes and ideas continue to come up in your work? How do these recurrences impact you as you are working, as well as after you decide a piece is finished?
MH: I’d say my work tends to be more geometric in format and adding lines through mark making using different materials towards the end is always fun. Normally I leave a piece for a number of days before I decide if it’s finished.
AK: The textures in these pieces are stunning, and it is clear that textiles have a strong presence in your work. Can you tell me a bit about the process of integrating fabric and paint with other media?
MH: After several layers of paint and paper I’ll add fabric if warranted, and it’s pretty much always linen. I have a lot of linen in various weights and weaves which have been washed. I love the dangling bits of thread and after gluing the linen down with a gloss medium, I’ll arrange the threads somewhat haphazardly. The linen is painted with acrylic and often I’ll use ink to color the threads.
HN: What is your relationship to mark-making? Do you consider these mixed-media works to be more in relationship to the fields of drawing, painting, or both?
MH: I love mark-making and I have been drawing on paper lately and I quite enjoy it. I use different materials and love how graphite, acrylic, ink, and water interact with each other. I think my mixed media pieces fit in both camps–I use drawing in my paintings and find it just adds to a piece.
AK: Some of your work has been expanding across multiple panels, what are some of the elements that you balance across pieces you are creating? What are some of the challenges of making a diptych?
MH: At the beginning of the lockdown I started experimenting with joining a number of panels together with varying depths. I always work on these panels for one piece at the same time and rearrange how they fit together. Most of the time these are all in the same color range, which makes it easier to create a cohesive look. Currently, I am working on a piece with 15 various-sized panels and will see where that goes. With the diptychs, I always use some of the same colors in both pieces and some of the same marks carry over from one to the other.
AK: The vividness of the colors in these pieces stand out – what are some of the inspirations for your work in color and composition? Do you have any artistic influences that come to mind?
MH: Because I live in Alberta the trees are bare for about half of the year, I just need color. I am drawn to worn surfaces, crumbling walls, and landscapes, especially from a bird’s-eye view. Sean Scully is an artist I admire as he has these large color fields in his work that I love. I keep trying to make my work less complicated but seem to have a hard time with that–it’s not meant to be right now.
AK: What is next for you as an artist? Are there any projects for you coming up?
MH: I have a solo show next year at the St. Albert Art Gallery and will be working on pieces for it and I’m trying to go quite a bit larger. There will be a couple of workshops as well that I’m looking forward to.
You can see more of Margriet’s visual art and projects at www.margriethogue.com.
Margriet Hogue is a mixed media abstract artist living in Alberta. She has her own needlework business designing and reproducing stitched textiles from museums in North America and Europe. Her involvement in the arts has extended into abstract painting and textiles are finding their way into her work.