Lorna Macintyre works mainly with sculptural installation and photography. Materials such as wood, mirrored glass, metals and fabric have also been important elements in Macintyre’s art.
Her installations frequently begin with a period of research. However, she uses unpredictable and intuitive processes of making and assembling her work. This means that the works are relatively abstract. They are poetic rather than literal in their relationship to her research.
For her exhibition at Mount Stuart, Macintyre has taken the house’s stained-glass zodiac windows and the circular, coloured windows in the ceiling – known as oculi– as her starting point. The windows represent both astrology and nature and use a changing sequence of colours to suggest the seasons.
Macintyre is particularly interested in the way colour takes on a symbolic role here. Her works echo this idea and are arranged throughout the house and grounds in groupings that relate to spring, summer, autumn and winter. The sequence of carefully composed installations includes crystal-glazed tiles that the artist made by hand. As in previous works, Macintyre here subtly refers to the history and visual character of the place in which she is exhibiting.
In her 2012 exhibition Midnight Scenes and Other Works, Macintyre made installations titled after Apollo and Artemis, which explored the symbolism connected to these mythological figures. Classical mythology is an important touchstone for the artist, but she does not attempt to illustrate or represent the stories told in myths. Instead, she is interested in the way mythologies create associations between imaginary figures and particular materials or natural phenomena – the Greek god Apollo is associated with the sun, for example, or the goddess Artemis with moonlight.
Mythology often tells stories of metamorphosis or transformation. Macintyre’s work also deals with processes in which substances are transformed. She has often used the nineteenth-century ‘cyanotype’ photographic technique, for example.
Macintyre has cited William Carlos Williams’s poem Paterson as an inspiration, with its repeated phrase ‘No ideas but in things.’ These words could be a fitting motto for her own art, which deals with complex ideas through the transformation and careful arrangement of materials.