This exhibition is a story of a loss and a finding.
As a teenage girl in 1963 I gave up my firstborn son for adoption at ten days old. In those first few days I had drawn him: a handful of pencil drawings. These and one small photograph were all I would have of him in the ensuing years. For a long time I tried to bury the memory of his loss.
In 1991 after graduating as a mature student, I made a painting alluding to this experience: Dreams, Memories, Icons; In 1992 this work was selected for inclusion in the new collection of women's art for New Hall. In October 2007 I found an email in my junk-box: 'Family Tree'. It was my son, searching for me. He had found me on the New Hall Art website, seen the painting, recognized it was about him and emailed the address above it. A fortnight later we met.
The only way I could know the child I lost was by drawing him. The drawings I had made of him as an infant, together with drawings of him now, and drawings of him from photographs as a child, have become the source of a whole new body of work. They form the main substance of this exhibition, which also contains a collaborative projection work by the two of us.
'Hush Don't Tell' opens on Sunday 29 August at 3pm - all are welcome to attend this event! Do join Mary and her son Luke as they introduce the works inspired by their incredible story.
Mary spoke with Jane Garvey on Woman's Hour on Radio 4 about her incredible story and its influence on her artistic practise. You can listen to this interview again on the BBC iPlayer by following the link on the Woman's Hour website.
Mary was also interviewed for an article in Green Pebble, talking about the inspiration behind her current works in anticipation of this exhibition.