Artist Statement

I depict scenes existing in-between states; between darkness and light, danger and serene beauty, pause and eternity. I am inspired by the delicate edge of danger in too-quickly stretching shadows, still water with unseen depths, desolation that stretches over the horizon.

Wooden surfaces are milled, decoratively burned, embroidered with wire, and attentively primed before painting. Choices are made to create paintings that are stable and ready for the centuries ahead. I am inspired by portable miniature religious votive paintings of the past; robust and miniature objects that feel undeniably loved.

Objects are coated with messages using an established shorthand of material choices and motifs.

Each piece is robustly crafted to hang directly on the wall as-is, a hanging wire is integrated within the stitching. The surface and the frame are one and the same.


Born in Toronto to a Scottish Mother and Welsh Father in 1989, I was raised in Minden Ontario Canada. 

I grew up surrounded by the iconic landscapes of the Haliburton Highlands. Artistically, I am connected to the disinctive rural spaces of my Canadian childhood. I also feel a strong connection to the places of my recent heritage in Pembrokeshire, Wales and Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Motifs and references to these places appear in my work.

I relocated to the UK in my twenties, and completed a year of mentorship at Newlyn School of Art in Cornwall. This has led to showing throughout the United Kingdom. 

In 2021 I became a mother, which has opened new avenues of queries and inspiration in my practice.

I work out of my home studio in Gloucestershire, and also from my woodshop in Pembrokeshire.

Words by David Finn
Professor and Chair
Department of Art
Wake Forest University

''The artist Mhairi Treharne makes a world with art that is both personal and cosmic, as well as exquisitely crafted and highly expressive.

Treharne’s art is poised between painting and sculpture: We encounter a structure made with inflected, worn materials like slate or wood, punctured, or drilled, and knitted with peripheries of wire, shaped to remind us of the ultimate status of art as a physical object --- and then we are pulled in, to the deep center of the work by evocative, fleeting, painted images, often a remembered landscape or a fragment of life. I like the way this artist simultaneously honors both vision and touch. Treharne’s work moves in and out of abstraction too, but it is her personal connection to the land, people, and animals she knows that gives her work a feeling of intimacy, value, and of love for the subject. These subjects are given space and intensity by their central position, and from the ‘working’ of the periphery which serves to frame and ‘protect’ them.

The great paradox of scale is that small things often evoke an immense, almost cosmic sense of space and time. Mhairi Treharne’s art seems like it could have been made long ago, and yet it reflects the deepest bonds we make with the world that sustain us in this age of rapid change.''

all paintings