Marian Dale Scott
(Montréal 1906 – Montréal 1993)
Oil on plaster wall
369 cm x 494 cm
Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Building, McGill University
McGill University Visual Arts Collection, 86-025
© Estate of Marian Dale Scott. Photo: McGill University
The mural Endocrinology offers a synthesis of the nature of research into the workings of hormones in the human body. To construct it, Marian Dale Scott painted a male figure – the searcher – reaching toward the nucleus of a radiating spiral surrounded by orbiting bodies and abstract cell-like organic forms. This work marked a turning point in Scott’s practice: in 1943, she began representing the microscopic world of atoms, embryos and cells. Because they are invisible to the naked eye, these new subjects allowed her to explore new forms of abstraction.
Marian Dale Scott was an activist artist whose work reflected her social concerns. Like many members of the Federation of Canadian Artists in the 1940s, she sought to bridge the gap between art and life. As a pacifist, Scott, unlike Molly Lamb Bobak, for example, refused to paint the war effort. A commission to create a mural for the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, which resulted in Endocrinology, offered her a different way to engage with society while pursuing a growing interest in abstract art.