Biography

Maryclare Foá graduated from RCA (Illustration) in 1984 and inspired by her tutor Linda Kitson[1] began her passion for reportage drawing (documenting stories from observations[2]). Privileged with the freedom to roam and cheap standby flights, Foá journeyed to The Arctic, Papua New Guinea and America where she exhibited her work at The Leighton’s Gallery Maine[3]. In 1985 Foá returned to the UK and rented a cottage[4] by the river Usk, from there she completed a number of illustration commissions and began painting narrative themes of personal mythology. Victoria Keeble[5] introduced her to The Kilvert Gallery, where Lizzie Organ[6] supported and encouraged Foá by regularly exhibiting and selling her work. Clare Jarrett[7] (who had tutored Foá at the RCA), recommended her for a teaching position at Gloucestershire College of Art (working for Terry Murphy on his Foundation course), and from that time onwards Foá has continued to teach in colleges around the UK. In 1992 Foá had a solo show Dreams and Journeys at Llantarnam Grange,[8] and later that same year she returned to London, undertook a lecture tour around Maine U.S.A. and worked to build connections between art colleges in Southern Africa and the UK, visiting Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique. In conversation with students, while teaching drawing in Norwich and Southampton, Foá realized she was out of touch with contemporary practice and that her own work was floundering so in 2002 Foá began an MFA at Central Saint Martins, revisiting her passion for observational drawing in outside places and spaces. Foá explored methods of ‘being in the story,’ through performance and documentation. Tutors on the course included the writer Claire Lofting and writer and critic Kathy Kubicki,[9] both encouraged Foá to do a PhD by practice. Foá began her research in 2006 at Camberwell UAL[10], supported by a supervisory team of three[11], she continued ‘being in the story,’ through performance drawing, and documentation, and (concerned with environmental issues), searched for evidence of an interaction between an outside environment and a practitioner in the process of drawing. Foá (using her voice as sound material), developed a Driftsinging methodology, revealing interactions with places in reflections echoes and refractions.  Through an introduction by her supervisor Professor Stephen Farthing[12], Foá began writing reviews and interviewing artists for Studio International (aka MK Palomar), and during a research residency (Lethaby gallery CSM), fellow research student, artist and educator Birgitta Hosea[13] proposed that she, Foá and the artist researchers Jane Grisewood[14] and Carali McCall[15] form a performance drawing collective.  Drawn Together [16] has been performing, exhibiting and writing together since 2006.[17]

Completing her research in 2011; Foá; seeking a return to visual exploration and discovery, and the sense of transportation that occurs through material revelry, stepped away from ‘being in the story’ and repositioned herself as storyteller. Drawing from films, as a starting point for a series of suspended vignettes (PIFds: Pictures Inspired by Films and dreaming), Foá wove together images and texts, and using social media as a pacer, posted an image once a day on Twitter (@watchoutmary) and Instagram (@r.andf.mo). These works later developed into a number of pictured stories (aka M.M. Kizi) including Lily the Cowboy, and L & The Bell Gang and a film script titled Poya the Qy. More recently PIFds have become root material for a new series of narrative paintings (aka R & F Mo), concerning various conditions of being alive in the presence of people and animals.

Foá lives and works in South London, has just finished a Turps Painting Correspondence Course (19-20) is currently undertaking a Turps Painting Offsite Course (20-21)[18] and teaches drawing at Camberwell and Central Saint Martins.

Exhibitions include: A History of Drawing (Camberwell 2018) Folkestone Fringe (2014) DeptfordX (2014), Drawology (2013 & 2014) C4rd Berlin/London (2011) the Jerwood Drawing prize (2010 & 2006). Drawing works are included in Hyperdrawing (i.Taurus 2012) and Drawing Now (i.Taurus 2007).

Some books (from the Stories menu) are available at Book Art Bookshop, 17 Pitfield St London N1 6HB.


[1] http://www.studiointernational.com/index.php/linda-kitson-interview-drawings-and-projects-house-of-illustration-london

[2] M.Foa, Sounding Out: performance drawing in response to the outside environment. UAL Phd Thesis, 2011. p85

[3] https://www.ellsworthamerican.com/obituary/judith-leighton-blue-hill-art-scene-mainstay-dies-at-81/

[4] http://www.penpont.com/page/welcome/

[5] https://www.johnaustinpublishing.co.uk/artist-victoria-keeble/artist-victoria-keeble.html

[6] https://thekilvertgallery.com/elizabeth-organ/

[7] http://www.studiointernational.com/index.php/clare-jarrett-interview

[8] http://www.lgac.org.uk/previous-exhibitions/10

[9] https://www.kingston.ac.uk/staff/profile/kathy-kubicki-667/

[10] http://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/5455/

[11] Director of Studies Paul Coldwell, Supervisor Professor Stephen Farthing, Supervisor artist activist & reader David Cross. http://www.studiointernational.com/index.php/david-cross-interview-university-of-the-arts-london

[12] https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/name/stephen-farthing-ra

[13] http://www.birgittahosea.co.uk

[14] http://www.janegrisewood.com

[15] http://www.caralimccall.com

[16] https://drawntogether.wordpress.com/tag/drawn-together/

[17] Performance Drawing: from 1960 to the present day. Scheduled to be published by Bloosmbury academic in 2019.

[18] https://www.turpsbanana.com