Margaret West

Photograph of Margaret West.


Artist statement


The word twists
in the wound. Incoherent

the guiltless seam their lips. Who
will excise the tongues of hypocrites and liars?

(thy name is being

Wounds yak and yaw. This is
not new. Blood has ever flowed

in the name of god to absolve
all manner of atrocities.

(the very scarlet speaks
thy holy name)

blessed consecrated sanctified deified
dedicated mortified scarified crucified

The light gave rise to shadows

(each was named)

The poppies bloom again
(each one has a name)

Blood & Wine
Meat & Bread
(S & M)
wafers (cookies)
the cuts (break them early)


the sacrifice — behold
a (named) lamb
Heads are lost (each had a name)
over a heaven filled with virgins

and yet more blood (a torrent of
names) will flow

on the right hand
the other behind the back (fingers crossed)

and in the name of the fathers
and the sons (each has a name)

torture sometimes leaves
barely a trace

(his name)

so be it

Margaret West - 2005

Images of work

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Artist bio

Margaret West is an artist who sometimes makes jewellery; she reads, avidly but selectively, and, similarly, listens to music; she writes: poetry, essays, and ruminations about many things, especially developing aspects of her art practice; she is also a gardener who admires both roses and dandelions; and she (usually) enjoys cooking, especially for guests.

Born and resident in Melbourne until 1978, she studied sculpture and printmaking at RMIT in the nineteen fifties, then ceramics, painting, and gold and silver-smithing at RMIT in the nineteen seventies. She has also studied philosophy and music (piano, oboe, viola, guitar).

In 1979 Margaret West moved to Sydney to take up a position at Sydney College of the Arts where she taught until 1999.

She has travelled and exhibited extensively in Australia and overseas and is represented in major national and international art collections. Her poetry and essays are published in journals and anthologies and on the internet. She has published several artist’s books which develop a dialogue between text and image.

Her work is informed by interests which range through literature, art and music, philosophy, science and technology, Concern about political issues is frequently a springboard for the development of work.

Her art practice is polymorphic and idiosyncratic, moving between installation, object making, jewellery, drawing, and photography. She employs a variety of materials and processes, as dictated by the matter in hand. These, in turn, play their role in determining the focus and form of the work.

Since 2000 Margaret West has been on location at Blackheath in the Upper Blue Mountains of New South Wales, where she delights in the clear air and the solitude.