Sea, Music and Mapping – Themes in the work of Mary Morrison.

Mary grew up in the Western Isles, she is drawn to exploring a sense of space and light which is particular to these islands. Aiming to combine a sense of place in the work with notation – variously suggesting mapping, measuring, music. Grid references, staves and tide tables recur in the work.


'My work is largely informed by the Atlantic archipelago and combines a sense of place with layers of meaning suggested by annotation – of music, mapping, measuring. Grid references, staves, shipping charts and tide tables recur in my work.

Where works have titles referring to specific locations, the intention is to draw on a deep connectedness to these places in order to explore wider themes. My work investigates the relationship between the individual and the landscape that has shaped them, something you carry with you – a ‘geography of the mind.’

My current practice is focussing on the word ‘Fonn’ as a link between the works. Fonn is a gaelic word with several meanings - ‘land, music, tune, state of mind’ - which echoes ongoing preoccupations in my work.

The gaelic poet Iain Crichton Smith expresses some of this succinctly in his poem ‘Lewis’ :

‘It follows me, that black island without ornament,
Which I am always questioning….
Sea, immortal waters, you are the harmony around us forever.
We exist in your music, 
In your blizzard of white gulls….

Wherever I am, you are with me, 
My music is the music of your stones, …
You are the book which I always study 
In sunsets over the Minch,
You are my gaunt theme, my poem which burns in water.’