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Mary Edquist puts her art in focus

Mary Edquist puts her art in focus

Mary Edquist, a partner at Monahan + Rowell, has successfully combined her legal career with a flourishing career in painting, after opening her first solo art exhibition at the Yering Station…

Mary Edquist, a partner at Monahan + Rowell, has successfully combined her legal career with a flourishing career in painting, after opening her first solo art exhibition at the Yering Station Art Gallery near Melbourne last week.

Labelling her art as "abstract expressionism," Edquist says she uses a lot of commercial materials - including paints, varnishes and finishes - within her work and expresses herself through collage using anything that comes to hand. She is displaying about 40 of her pieces at her exhibition, an extensive body of work for somebody whose art career began only a few years ago, and who is still maintaining her full-time practice in a law firm.

A passion for art may seem like an unlikely hobby on top of a legal career, but Edquist says a mixture of the two makes perfect sense. "One thing that is very useful about having a law degree is that you're actually used to working to a timetable," she says. "You're also used to working intensively."

In the field of painting, or any creative pursuit, she says, that experience in working so intensively can assist an artist in simply getting on with their work. "I do get the work done," says Edquist, "some full-time artists can sort of envy my discipline and my sense of perspective that if I make a mistake, or if it doesn't look right, that it's not the end of the world ... I think the legal training is helpful for being objective about your own work." For Edquist, painting is a hobby that fits with her original aspirations to become a painter when she was young. "Then, as happens to a lot of people," she says, "I had a job, got married, had children [at an age] very young by today's standards, got busy and needed to work, so I did law."

Edquist says she always retained her interest in art, but that it wasn't until 2004 she actually started painting again. "I actually became quite prolific quite quickly. I built up quite a large body of work and, to my surprise, it was well received."

Edquist's four children have all now left home and she says that allowed her to find a little more time on her hands to pursue her interest in art. She spends her days in the office and arrives home at night to paint in her living room. With the exhibition now under way, Edquist says she will spend most of her weekends at the gallery.

Edquist's exhibition, "A New & Impulsive Voice: Paintings & Collage Kaleidosapes," runs from 5 June till 26 July. Admission is free and all commissions from sales will be donated to LARCH, Leukemia Auxiliary of the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.

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Mary Edquist puts her art in focus
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