Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA


 I have a lifelong interest in memory and thought, and the way we interpret our experiences over time.


I draw on memories of landscapes around the world to create sense impressions of space and light. My invented landscapes feature the repeated use of stylised forms such as leaves, trees and blades of grass, the one sometimes morphing into the other. 


In my sketchbooks, on the other hand, I attempt to capture unposed moments in everyday life. Drawing from observation helps to develop my working memory and my understanding of the world we live in. And as I draw I develop a richer appreciation for the stories we tell ourselves about our lives.


Whether working from observation or imagination, I am fascinated by relative scale and the way the smallest shift in perspective can determine whether something looks tiny or tremendous. 


These ideas have been important themes in my solo exhibitions. In 2007 I created a five metre-long installation 'Undercurrents - Ten Views through a River of Words' for my exhibition at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames. Undercurrents is about creative self expression, and what a story feels like when you can't find the words to tell it. 


In 2012 I developed The Portable Forest, an installation over two walls in my exhibition at Ripley Arts Centre in Bromley, Kent. I imagined quiet reflection as a habitat, and memories as deer. These images derive from my time spent in Windsor Great Park, and from my experience living in Germany: I was once deep in a forest where the only sound was a cuckoo calling in the distance, and the only visible creature was the occasional surprised deer. The magic of that memory has stayed with me, and I retreat to that world from time to time.


My solo exhibition ‘Pale Grey Castle’ in 2020 marked the beginning of two new drawing series: Papered Over, in which I explore ideas about transformation, and Pale Grey Castle, in which I reinvent familiar scenes in my home town of Windsor.