Of the many influences on my work, three stand out. One is my early training as a dancer and choreographer in the Laban method, with its roots in German Expressionism. From it I acquired a need, in my art, to find ways to make my images full of movement, whether described by gestural lines, colour contrasts or textural variations.
Another influence is the nearly 20 years spent in Africa in my youth and then as a young adult bringing up my family. There, living on a farm, I was close to nature. For the first time, I felt free to make something out of nothing. I saw African craft and art as an inspiration. Here I began making my own wall hangings and linoprints.
The third major influence was the opportunity to experience modern art when I returned to Europe in my 30s. Galleries full of international art were new and very exciting to me. I studied combined arts in Brighton and later textiles in Eastbourne.
I started work as a textile designer in the mid-1980s, working to deadlines supplying designs for fashion and furnishing industries throughout the world. Since 1998, my focus has been entirely on drawing, printmaking and painting.
I enjoy exploring the relationship between colours, shape, form, line and texture. In my work, these elements interact and make up moving rhythms, harmony or discord. Colour, line and mark-making are central: how the colour is applied or the line drawn and with what motion of the hand, controlled or free-flowing. Patrick Heron referred to “the abstract music of interacting form-colour.”
Travelling towards a solution is both the challenge and the inspiration. Indeed, each work is a journey of exploration and discovery from the first mark through to its completion.
Born (Manja Crnković) Zagreb, Croatia. Lived in Croatia 1945-56, Ethiopia 1956-58, Croatia 1958-66, Zambia 1966-81, Kenya 1981-82, UK from 1982 (Oxford since 1987).
- National Print Exhibition (Mall Galleries, London; joint winner – Julian Trevelyan Award, 2000)
- Oxford Artweeks (most years since 1998)
- Affordable Art Fair, (4 Impressions, Four Square Fine Arts, Mainhill Gallery)
- Art on Paper Fair, Royal College of Art (London)
- Strand Gallery (Aldeburgh)
- Broughton House Gallery (Cambridge)
- Rostra Gallery (Bath)
- Battersea Contemporary Art Fair (London)
- Merriscourt Gallery (Sarsden, Chipping Norton)
- Pierrepont Fine Art (Oxford)
- Christ Church Picture Gallery (Oxford)
- Wolfson College (Oxford)
- Green College (Oxford)
- Royal Academy, Summer Exhibition (London)
- New Ashgate Gallery (Farnham)
- SW1 Gallery (London)
- Modern Art Oxford
- North Wall Gallery (Oxford)
- Art & Architecture Gallery (London)
- Sewell Centre Gallery, Radley College (Oxfordshire)
- Arundel Contemporary (Sussex)