Maria PERSONNAZ

Maria Personnaz-Smith
Born on 30 October 1954 in Upsala, Sweden
Of Swiss and Swedish nationality

I grew up in Geneva, worked for four years as an interior decorator, then for over ten years as a social worker, serving the elderly in a working-class district of Geneva. These years were interspersed with numerous and sometimes lengthy trips to Europe, Africa and Asia. From 1997 to 2002, I lived with my family in Hanoi, Vietnam.

 

AND PAINTING ?

I began painting in oils in 1990, when I was 36. It was a childhood dream. All of a sudden, I knew the moment had come. I bought a box of paints and brushes and have painted every day since then. I was able to exhibit my paintings on two occasions before leaving Geneva: in May 1993 at the Salon du Livre et de la Presse, and in June 1995 at the Gallery of the Société Mutuelle Artistique in Carouge, near Geneva.

As the very idea of having a teacher looking over my shoulder while I worked put me off, I decided not to take painting lessons. Technically, this made me lose a few years; personally, it allowed me to preserve my freedom. Searching for what you really want to say and how you want to say it through painting is a process you can only undertake alone.

What I wanted to express was the simple utter beauty of everyday life. Sunshine at eleven o'clock on the wall of a house, a woman passing by or working in the afternoon light, ordinary people and their ordinary presence in the magnificent light of a normal day. Nothing spectacular, just what constitutes the greatest beauty on earth: beings and things in day-to-day peaceful existence. So, my work is representational: its aim is to retranscribe and share the wonder I draw from reality. 

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