As a member of the Arborealist group (about whom Sansom published a book earlier this year), you might think that “A Tree Within” was the obvious title for this book. It is, however, a complete survey of McIntyre’s work rather than the specific, and most recent, and the link is not immediately obvious. As far as I can tell, it is influenced by a current exhibition – this publisher’s books often accompany them – but it makes the subject seem specific rather than general, which is a shame.
Fiona McIntyre is the great-granddaughter of Malcolm Drummond, one of the founders of the Camden Town Group and his influence on her work is clear – and readily seen thanks to several illustrations. It is a connection she is keen to acknowledge and she mentions a developing friendship with Tim Craven, curator of Southampton City Art Gallery, which has a considerable collection of Drummond’s work. Craven contributes a celebratory foreword.
Further textual material comes in the form of a extended interview with the book’s editor, Alan Wilkinson. In this, McIntyre talks candidly about her development as an artist, her influences and working methods. It is refreshing to find so many perceptive questions and such complete answers. Some artists seem almost embarrassed to talk about their work, but that is not the case here.
The illustrative sections of the book are chronological and grouped by place, with McIntyre’s current work, Arboreal, coming at the end.
This is an excellent opportunity to study the progression of the artistic mind and eye and could be generalised beyond its specific subject. To have had such complete co-operation, though, is a decided bonus.
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