Born in New Zealand, Marian Fountain was introduced to the bronze casting technique while studying at Elam School of Fine Arts (1979 – 1983). Under the guidance of Paul Beadle, Fountain developed a deep respect for the traditional processes of the medium. In 1984, she received a major travel grant from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, and travelled to London where she gained experience casting at the Royal College of Art and the Red Bronze Studio. She then moved to Italy, where she studied at the Scuola della Mediglia (Rome Mint). Fountain now lives and works in Paris.
Melding influences from European art in all its rich diversity, with her New Zealand roots and the cultures of the Pacific, Fountain uses the female form, plant life and the animal kingdom, often in states of metamorphosis, to explore themes of fertility, womanhood, conflict, change and growth.
The metamorphic quality in Fountain’s sculptural practice is a thread that runs through much of her oeuvre. Her Chrysalids, female figures with legs and arms fused in pod-like shape, are paused at the moment of transformation. In the Pandora’s Box series of medals the thighs, stomach and breasts undulate like hills, forming a human landscape. By not portraying the head, the perspective in these works is of looking down at one’s own body, creating a sensual experience that is both intimate and intense.
Fountain is a member of the Medal Art New Zealand group and has designed and made medals for the 1988 XIV Commonwealth Games, the 2003 America’s Cup and for the Friends of Birmingham Museums in 2007.
Fountain has exhibited at the British Museum, The National Gallery of Scotland, the Museo Archeologico of Milan, York Museum, Auckland War Memorial Museum and the French Mint. Her work has been displayed at the New Zealand Embassy in Paris and in London and is held in the British Museum and Smithsonian Museum collections. She exhibits regularly in Europe, and has kept a continuous presence in the New Zealand art world, exhibiting in New Zealand every few years.
2009 – Automne: Where are You? par Mark Stocker, The Medal, British Museum
Marian Fountain, an Aotearoa-Parisian artis, Mark Stocker, Art NZ
1998 – Printemps: Life Forms par Terence Mullaly, The Medal, British Museum
1995 – Automne: Talking with m\Marian Fountain par Mercy Leavitt Bourne, The Medal, British Museum
2017 – The Earth Remembers, bronze, 3m high, Arras, France
2010 – Jones Medal for Royal Society of NZ for lifetime achievement in the mathematical sciences.
33 medals for GS1 France Portrait medal for Jacob Dellacqua
2009 – 5 Installations of 35 bas reliefs and 50 existing plaques in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh hospital corridors
Collector medal ‘Shelter 1’ for British Art Medal Society
2008 – Trophies for GS1 France (Barcode Company)
2007 – Medal for the Friends of Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries
Medal for St Andrew’s church, New Zealand
2004 – 150 medals to commemorate L’Entente Cordiale for l’Association France Grande Bretagne
2003 – 160 medals for Gencod Ean France
Prize medals for the America’s Cup
2002 – Medals for the Franco-British Lawyers’ Society
2001 – Trophy and medals for the British Army
1994 – Wall plaque (crest), Saudi Air Force
1993 – Commemorative medal for the liberation of Le Quesnoy, 1918, commissioned by NZ Government
1992 – Bronze gate for dog cemetery, Ferne Estate, Wiltshire
1991 – Abel Tasman Commemorative plaque, Hagley Park, Christchurch
1989 – Bas relief for the tomb of Jean Batten in Majorca (the first solo flight from England to NZ in 1936), commissioned by NZ Government
1988 – Prize & Commemorative medals for XIV Commonwealth Games, Auckland
1986 – Hinetitama medal commissioned by French Mint
1983 – Sundial for the Medical School garden, Auckland University
Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC
‘The Earth Remembers’– Memorial sculpture in Arras, France. Unveiled at the Centennial Ceremony of the Battle of Arras, 9 April 2017. The northern French town of Arras has further chosen to recognise the work done by 500 New Zealand tunnellers during the First World War. This sculptural monument by artist Marian Fountain, has been placed near the entrance to their Wellington Quarry Museum. The NZ Lottery Grant provided $181,000 towards this monument. New Zealand recognises Arras’s contribution to the memory of the New Zealand troops, not only because local people have lived surrounded by the carefully tended graves, but also to give thanks to the Museum