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Marion Adnams: A Singular Woman

Updated: Sep 29, 2018

In November 2017 I was approached by Derby Museum’s Lucy Bamford regarding a new temporary exhibition surrounding the work of the local surrealist artist Marion Adnams. I’ve had an interest in Surrealism since school where I studied some of the more famous paintings from that movement, so it was exciting to have the opportunity to learn more about a lesser known but equally enchanting artist from closer to home.

The brief was to produce a series of images that would accompany a small display of Adnams own collection of reference objects. Five object groups were highlighted and my images would support the information written by Lucy about each of the following subjects on an information board to be attached to the display.

· Roots

· Shells

· Stone

· Sketchbooks

· Materials & Paints

When considering how to approach the style that I should use for these drawings, readability was essential as visitors would need to easily make the connections between the display and the information board, using my drawings to bridge the gap between the display and the information. I ended settled on mid tone greyscale sketching to achieve this. Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple, overcomplicating a drawing meant to compliment a display can sometimes be distracting and I wanted my illustrations to blend in.

To help me capture my own reference images to use in creating my own drawings from the objects, I was kindly given access to handle Adnams’ personal collection of objects that she had gathered over her life as an artist. These objects primarily included twisted roots and shells as well as small rocks and stones as she favoured unusual formations. Many of these shapes were included in her most notable works such as “For lo, Winter is past” and “Three Stones”, which also featured as part of this exhibition.

After arranging and photographing the objects in groups, I removed the background from the photos I liked the best and assembled them into distinct compositions ready to draw from. Once each drawing was finished, I digitised them and cleaned up the final images in Photoshop.

Once all of the group drawings had been prepared, the final stage was to bring them together alongside the text written by Lucy in a visually clear way ready to be printed on board and mounted to the display. Although the text and background colour in the image below may appear grey, it’s actually a dark blue, intended to math up with the feature wall behind.

The exhibition "Marion Adnams: A Singular Woman" ended on 14th march 2018 but can still explored as a virtual space here:


Design Brief



Derby Museums


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