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Featured Artist Marian Fountain

512.921.7212 :: thelab@fe29.com

Marian in her first official squat - a home and studio in Montmartre
Marian Fountain 1
Home and studio No. 2 - 400 m2 of factory space in the centre of Paris
Marian at work and at rest surrounded by some of her bas-reliefs
Marian at work and at rest
Marian's morning for work on the school rooftop garden
Marian school rooftop garden
A sense of touch shared with our ancestors
Ancestrl Remote

Featured Artist Marian Fountain

MARIAN FOUNTAIN – Sculptor & medal artist

Marian Fountain is a New Zealand artist who has lived in Paris for 22 years and returns regularly to the country of her birth. She takes her inspiration from simple and recognisable forms in nature: a fish, a leaf, a pea pod – food from the earth. And on the surface of these forms the traces of underlying life – movement and energy are evoked with fine reliefs of waves, camouflages or tattoo. Her work has been exhibited at the British Museum, The National Gallery of Scotland, the Museo Archeologico of Milan, York Museum, Auckland Museum, and the French Mint. Some of her creations include the winners’ medals for the Commonwealth Games in 1990 and the America’s Cup in 2003, and the “Entente Cordiale” centenary medal in 2004.

Fountain currently lives in an ‘atelier d’artiste de la Ville de Paris’ (social housing for artists), which was provided for her in 2008. Up until that time, from the time she arrived in Paris (1991), she had been living in official squats. For the first eight years, she was  in a little house built in 1900 in Montmartre with no bathroom and an outside toilet. Conditions were very ‘bohème’ but the garden cascaded down three terraces to the Bateau Lavoir at the bottom. ” The little house felt like the Grandma of Paris so I had an open-door policy and met Parisians that way.”

For the next eight years she lived in a 400m2 factory space in the centre of Paris, and there too it was open door with people using
the downstairs area for theatre, music and various courses. “In 2000 we held ‘Picnicart’ parties every month where people bought
their own food and five or six artists exhibited.”

She is happy now to have her own workshop and living space with a garden at the end of a grassy courtyard. “I have been extremely
lucky to be able to work outside and to have had three gardens and sky in Paris.”

First experiences with bronze casting – “It was actually a piece of wood that introduced me to the foundry. I was in my second year at art school studying design and sculpture. In the wood workshop on the first floor, a small piece of wood that I was trying to mill, shot out of its clamp and nearly took my stomach out on its fast trajectory towards the window, which luckily was open. Rather shaken, I went outside to look for the wood and came across David Reid, who ran the foundry in the courtyard. Then and there he started showing me the process of simply burying polystyrene and pouring metal into it : the simplest of molds/casts. I was immediately hooked. Somehow it seemed to me a more ‘balanced’ process than the violent machines often used to manipulate wood. And it seemed you could create something from scratch.

An opportunity to go to Italy and receive training at the Rome Mint – “I’ve been involved with the British Art Medal Society since 1984, attending weekends most years which provide a fantastic opportunity to visit museums with curators, around the UK and on the continent. During an international congress (FIDEM) dinner in 1984 in Stockholm, I met the person in charge of medals at FAO in Rome, who helped me apply for the school at the Rome Mint. There were no fees but I plunged into Roman life, earning my own living and also making enough work to exhibit in a gallery on the Spanish Steps. I was involved with a family who cast sculptures in their foundry on the seventh floor of the medieval tower where they lived. It was fantastic to have first-hand experience of the artistic and artisanal traditions in Italy.”

A sense of touch shared with our ancestors – “It’s a thrill when sculpting to feel in touch with the artisan ancestors by repeating exactly the same manual gestures, understanding better how many artefacts from the plethora of cultures and eras were made. Through practice, the hand-eye coordination blends the conscious and the unconscious, and we begin to feel part of the collective lake of consciousness. I feel that creating things with the hands is like keeping the sap flowing through the branches and roots of a plant, keeping the organism (myself and the community) alive and healthy.” Fountain’s Ancestral Remote is reminiscent of Maori rakau whakapapa (used as a mnemonic aid to Maori elders reciting long genealogical histories).

Bridging Time - ” Bronze is a material which has a rich history in many cultures through time. Making sculptures from it seems to bridge time, informing us at once of our present and our distant ancestral past, and emphasizing that the present is but a notch in time. In the process of making a sculpture I mainly work with plasticine, wax and plaster. They are natural materials which are pleasing to manipulate, not toxic, and furthermore the negative and positive steps in mold-making add more stages in which to intervene, building up a situation of many creative possibilities.

See how Marian Fountain came to exhibit in Fe29 Gallery, and learn more about Marian and her works.





Manuel clearing a track for the proposed sculpture walk.
Clearing a track
Megan taking branches to the fire.
Megan Clearing
Burning some of what's been cleared for the sculpture walk through the woods.
Now I know where the old adage "he's growing like a weed" comes from!
Megan Weeding
Placing one of Croix's "5-Square Knots" in the gallery.
CJ & Croix sculpture
Hanging "Umbilical Cord' on the curved wall.
Hanging Artwork

Preparing for the Wimberley opening

We’ve been busy getting ready to open the Fe29 Art Lab here in Wimberley to the public. And boy is there a lot to do.  Manuel has been busy chainsawing and burning and we now have a pretty good walking track through our 5 heavily wooded acres. The plan is to turn this into a sculpture walk. We have had a couple of our artists working here over the weekend. They are ceramists Sarah Rohlack and Daniel Armstrong, and they have been working on a project to build a tiled bench seat for the walk.

We’ve been mowing lawns, and cleaning up the gardens. The rain sure helped green things up around here, but then of course it also got the grass and weeds growing like, well weeds I guess.  Our ride on mower gave up a few weeks back and we have been dependent on artist friend Mark Love, who very kindly loaned us his mower, until this weekend when we managed to secure a replacement. Thank you Mark!

We have also been accumulating artworks – quite a lot of artworks – sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, furniture, paintings & metal artwork for the walls.We have been framing and mounting, and setting up gallery spaces. And then there’s this pesky website, and the signs and rack cards we need to let everyone know where to find us. So much to do! But don’t panic, we’re almost there.

Ishmael showing us his giant "purse".
A giant handbag adorned with baby handbags.
The Purse
Ishmael and Cecilia discussing one of his numerous kilns.
At the Kiln
Sculpture display space in his very large and well lit studio.
In the Studio
Along the route from his studio to his hand-built home (the third one on his 50-acre place)
Ishmael & C Walking
Taken from the cat-walk in his house. Check out all the ceramics on his kitchen counter!
Ishmael Making Lunch
One of the wonderful sculptures Ishmael sent us home with.

Our visit to Ishmael Soto’s studio and home in Blue, TX

Sculptor Ishmael Soto and ceramicist Julie Isaacson came to see us at our Satellite Gallery in Austin. We all hit it off fabulously and so were invited to visit Ishmael at his home and studio in Blue (near Lexington). Ishmael has developed quite a compound for himself and his very large family. He hand-built three homes on his +-50 acre place in the woods and has a wonderful and serene lifestyle that he willingly shared with Cecilia and I.  We spent most of a day touring and admiring his artworks, kilns, gardens, books, knives and homes. He even cooked us lunch, which is apparently not a common event. We had the privilege of seeing some of the treasured works he has produced over many years, and uses in his day to day life. It was such a treat. To top off this wonderful day, Ish agreed to let Fe29 represent him and we all three worked in the rain, to fill up our entire truck with as many sculptures as would fit to bring back to Wimberley for our opening that is scheduled for late July/early August. It was like Christmas when we returned to the Art Lab and began unpacking and arranging his works. They look so good among the other pieces and we feel privileged to be representing such an icon.

At 80 years old, Ish was more than a little skeptical when Cecilia asked him to consider collaborating with another of our metal artists.  The look on his face was priceless when she first brought up the subject, but she proceeded to hand over to him a favorite unfinished work. The artist had made numerous unsuccessful attempts to finish the work and hoped that Ishmael may just have what it takes to turn it into something they can both be proud of. While Ishmael has stated more than once that he doesn’t do collaborations, as a little more time has passed, he seems to be warming up to the idea. Last time we met with him at ACC he mentioned something about putting it through the roller, so, watch this space for his first collaboration. I think this old dog will be learning a few new tricks!


This is the other side of our building. We arelocated across Brazos street
from the Frost Bank Tower.
Back of Brazos Lofts
We have mounted a TV screen with a slideshow containing some interesting tidbits about Fe29. Check it out...
Visit gallery
Please sign our guest book at the front table while you're here.
Visit Gallery 3
The handicapped ramp leads to our entrance on the right. Don't get confused with the other businesses' signage across the front windows of our gallery.
Gallery External

Visit our gallery in downtown Austin!

We’ve been trying out a small gallery space in downtown Austin to test the proverbial waters. We call it our Satellite Gallery and it has a great location – between 4th & 5th Streets on the east side of Brazos St. (which is 1 block east of Congress).

10 years ago, Cid Galindo, our landlord had the forethought to turn one of the very large first floor condo units into, not only his living quarters and office, but also 6 additional offices that generate income for him, as well as a shared space that he hoped would be used as a gallery. This space has a conference table, which can be reserved by any of the tenants for meetings during the week. We have leased this gallery space in order to have a presence in Austin and a comfortable space to meet with our clients that may find this location more convenient than driving to Wimberley. There is a significant amount of art hanging in this small space and we will be using the gallery to hold exhibitions on an ongoing basis.

As we also have gallery space at The Art Lab in Wimberley, we frequently switch out works between the two depending upon needs at the time. For instance, we are in the process of preparing to launch Fe29 in Wimberley and will need to have a representative sample of all of the types of work that we have produced to date for the opening, so have taken some of the works from the Satellite Gallery and will replace them after the opening. Please note however, that we do not staff the Satellite Gallery. Visitors are encouraged to drop in during normal business hours and peruse our works, but don’t expect the good looking fellow sitting behind the double doors in what appears to be the curator’s office to jump up and ask if you need assistance, as he is Cid, simply working in his office.



Opening Night 7
Opening Night 4
Opening Night 1
Opening Night 9
Opening Night 2
Opening Night 8
Opening Night 5

FIRST LIGHT: Opening Reception Photos!

The opening reception for “First Light”, the Fe29 debut exhibition in the US, was a great success. Over 100 guests  enjoyed good food, good company and of course, great art! Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time, as evidenced by the many guests who spilled out onto the street and partied until late into the night. Thank you all for taking the time to help us celebrate.

We would also like to thank those who helped us with the exhibition and made this a night to remember. Firstly our landlord Cid Galindo who not only allowed us to use his beautiful office space for this event but was kind enough to open up his living quarters to make the caterer’s job more pleasant.  Not only is Cid very generous but he also makes good conversation and is a great party guest!

We would also like to thank Glazer’s for their very generous gift of some very good wine, which was enjoyed by all, David and Pam Taylor who did a great job catering; Lenore Avant and John Gallagher for helping us set up; Paul Beck from Paul Beck Productions who went out of his way to pull together a  track of sounds from the workshop after a last minute request; Benjamin Slade & Adam Rasmus for not only designing the invitation but also for going out of their way to ensure we had signage, a slide show, etc for the night.

We look forward to seeing you all at our next exhibition. Watch this space.