Creatures great & small

Marjan Wouda

Born Netherlands

1983-84 Visual Arts, Foundation Course, Manchester Polytechnic

1984-87 BA Hons Fine Art (Sculpture), N.E. London Polytechnic

1987-88 MA Fine Art (Sculpture), Manchester Polytechnic

Marjan Wouda is an internationally acclaimed artist, from New Zealand and Hong Kong to Europe, the Caribbean and America, bought or commissioned by private collectors and public institutions. She has exhibited in London, Amsterdam, The Hague, Germany, Dublin, the US and around the UK

Born in 1960 on her family’s dairy farm in the North of Holland, Marjan Wouda came to England when she was 19, hungry for independence and experience. Marjan currently lives with her family in the Pennine Hills of Lancashire, occupying an old house with a studio in the outbuildings and chickens in the garden. ~ WSG


I make sculptures mostly of animals. The underlying theme in all my work, however, is the human experience. Animals are used, like characters in a dream or story, to explore and give expression to it. Nursery rhymes, proverbs and stories all use this same process, and I often visit these literary sources to find the right animal for what it is I need to look into. Often too, these stories serve as a starting point for series of pieces such as the fox and the cockerel from Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale, or the characters populating nursery rhymes (such as Old Mother Hubbard’s wonderful dog.)

All my work starts with drawing; sculpture, for me, is a kind of drawing in 3 D. I make small hand held pieces in wax or clay to explore the posture and the 3 dimensionality of the piece. Posture is my most powerful tool; it is what imbues a sculpture with emotional resonance. Then there is play, by which I mean: responding creatively to the medium I have chosen to work with. It is important to me that each piece is open ended; that the material is allowed its voice and that each sculpture is an adventure.

Most of my sculptures originate in clay, which is sometimes fired but more often cast into bronze and patinated in strong colours. The surfaces are highly tactile; one is aware of the layering of the clay and a playful exploration of the material with textures of everyday materials imprinted onto the clay or cast into the sculpture.

Sir Kyffin Williams, RA, artist: “Here is someone whose work is indeed true sculpture. She possesses an almost surreal twist to her work that immediately makes it thought provoking. Some of her work has a tenderness that is most moving, an emotion that is usually lacking in modern sculpture.”

Selected Exhibitions

2017 Curwen Gallery, London: Mixed Sculpture Exhibition
Longitude Gallery, Clitheroe
Dignle Festival, Ireland

2016 Susan Calloway Fine Arts, Washington DC, US
Tatternhall Hall Gardens, Chester, solo show

2015 Sculptures in 2 Suffolk Gardens.
Lancaster City Museum, Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk
Gavagan Art Gallery

2014 Curwen Gallery, London
Beelden in Gees, Netherlands

2013 3 Staffordshire Moorland Gardens – Solo show
Dean Manor gardens, Chipping Norton – solo show

Public Collections

Dean Clough Art Gallery, Halifax, Yorkshire
Drumcroon Education Art Centre, Wigan
Provident Financial, Bradford, Yorkshire
Bury Art Gallery & Museum
Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery
ABCG, Groningen, The Netherlands
The Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston
The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

for full biography please contact Water Street Gallery