Mary Louise Coulouris

About Mary Louise Coulouris

Mary Louise Coulouris (1939-2011) worked in a range of media during her prolific career, with studios in London (1962-1976), Scotland (1976-1999) and Hydra, Greece (2000-2011). Of partly Greek heritage, born in New York and growing up in Hampstead, she trained at Chelsea College of Art in the late 1950s and then Slade to 1960, specialising in printmaking under the tutorship of Anthony Gross and William Coldstream.

In 1961 she won a scholarship to the Grande Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, where she further refined her printmaking techniques at Atelier 17 under the tutorship of William Stanley Hayter. Etching, lithography, linocut, and monoprint techniques were widely and creatively used in her work between the mid-1960s and the 1990s, resulting in numerous one-person shows (e.g Hull Ferens 1968; Edinburgh Fruitmarket 1979; Bankside 1990; Stirling Smith 1989), commissions, and accessions into major public collections (Scottish Natural Heritage; Scottish Poetry Library (carpets); Glasgow Garden Festival; Camden Council; Trinity College Oxford; Towner; Ashmolean; NHS; House of Lords, Graphothek Berlin; Sainsbury) as well as private ones (Rt Hon John Smith, Lady Strathcarron; Royal Bank of Scotland, Hambros Bank).

Major themes in early- to mid-career etchings were working communities, cityscapes and landscapes (e.g. fishermen, miners) presented in detailed and appealing ways with highly effective and realistic drawing, partly inspired by early to mid-century printmaking art and politics in eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Russia and east Germany) where she spent time as a student. Characteristic use of layered colour inks characterises these works. Alongside them sit much-collected attractive watercolour still lives and oil and acrylic works on canvas and board showing Scottish landscapes and cityscapes, often at large scales suitable for gallery or statement hanging.

An active member of and exhibitor with the Edinburgh and Glasgow Printmakers' Workshops during the 1970s-1990s (with much use of linocut and monoprint and more interest in bold shapes and abstraction in the latter period), she was elected a permanent Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in 1992 and held several group and one solo exhibition with the Society.

During the early 1990s, several Greek Government Scholarships and an award from the Mojacar Foundation allowed her to examine Mediterranean landscapes and societies, predominantly in watercolour, acrylics and oils, with one-person shows held at e.g. Jill Yakas Athens 1991, Hydra Art Gallery 2007; 2010).

She undertook mural commissions with a strong figurative element and studied murals in international public spaces during the 1990s, including via a Winston Churchill Fellowship.

Her later career from 2000 was based in a studio on Hydra where she produced many colourful and exotic images of fishing boats, port life and Aegean landscapes. Newspaper articles, two BBC radio programmes and several short films presented her work at different periods of her career, and obituaries and reviews of her career were published in the Guardian, Hampstead and Highgate Express and Herald newspapers as well as more specialised publications, in early 2012. She died from Motor Neuron Disease.

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Coulouris' obituary in the Guardian newspaper