Margaret Priest


Known for her drawings and three-dimensional critiques of modernism and the built world, Margaret Priest works at the intersections of architecture, design, urban histories and personal memory.

Her work investigates the aesthetic and cognitive condition of modernist architecture, its environments, and materials. Though Priest’s works appear to initially contemplate the formal aspects of modernist structures, they succeed in capturing the complex way people interact with these spaces and portray the human experience of them.

Through her meticulous black and white pencil drawings, paintings, three-dimensional constructions and text works Priest challenges the relationship of the body to the spaces they describe. Her works possess a subtle quality of surreal austerity, as her spaces are often both ideal and uninhibited.  Questioning the dehumanization of modern society and evoking a sense of isolation in the viewer, Priest manages to shift the perceptions and articulate the interaction between the viewer and the architectural environment.

Margaret Priest was born in Tyringham, Buckinghamshire, England in 1944, and received her MFA from the Royal College of Art in London. She has exhibited in museums, public galleries and private art galleries in England, Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the USA since 1970. Priest’s work is in numerous public and private collections including the Tate Gallery, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. She is a recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Architecture for her large-scale permanent, site-specific commission Monument to Construction Workers in Cloud Park, Toronto. Priest is Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph and a visiting lecturer at universities and schools of art and architecture in Canada and the USA.