Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Artist by day, creative writer by default: Mary O'Malley deserves a Pulitzer

Artist by day, creative writer by default: Mary O'Malley deserves a Pulitzer, Mary O'Malley is not a writer for the Washington Post, and she did not win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism of art, as their writer Philip Kennicott did, according to the April 15 report from the New York Times. However, O'Malley could have been a writer based upon her Artist Statement she sent the Atlanta Top News Examiner, and she would likely have won if she did try her hand at it, since she managed to convey a range of emotions in three short paragraphs that would make the most eloquent writer green with envy.

In a discussion with the ceramic artist during the American Craft Council Show in Atlanta, Mary O'Malley didn't have to mention that she was Irish or Catholic; it was written all over her. Dressed in a black dress with her flaming red hair swept up in a dignified do, the young, friendly artist seemed a contradiction to the unusually decorated plates and bowls before her.

View slideshow: Mary O'Malley Ceramics
Yet a perusal of her Artist Statement from 2007 reveals that beneath the fragile physical image lies a talented soul who has learned how to tap into the deep emotions of life in a way that results in unique ceramic art production. And she knows how to verbalize that gift as well, which makes her an unusual creature of the arts.

According to Ms. O'Malley, some of her art work has been colored by tragedy, losing three people close to her within a month of each other in years past, which served as a catalyst for her urn art. She talked of a family that moves from "deep despair to poignant reflection to cacophonous laughter" during losses of the physical kind. And she makes her readers feel they've entered her world of the "Brooklyn-Irish-Catholic stereotype" too.

Mary's ceramic art is as mysterious (and yet open) as she appears to be, with slender gold-rimmed plates of a light neutral color adorned with unusual whimsical decorations she calls sea creatures, and they are in the most unusual shade of color. She repeats the colors and designs on large and small plates, as well as cups and bowls, multiplying them much like the sea she describes in her 2012 Artist Statement.

The art makes one long to use the item, yet treasure it too much to do so at the same time. And its too hard to pass it by at a show without wanting to add a piece of it to the home; if for no other reason than it is likely one would never see such work anywhere else again.

For those who missed Mary O' Malley and her ceramic pieces at the Atlanta show, you will have a chance to catch her showing her wares next at the upcoming American Craft Council Show in St. Paul, Minn., where she will be April 19-21 in Booth 1206.

Those unable to attend can visit her website or check out the photo slideshow at the top of this page for a look at the studio and work table of the Irish artist, as well as some of her recent pieces available for sale. You'll be glad you did.

No comments:

Post a Comment