Mary O'Malley is an American born ceramic artist currently working and residing in Long Island, New York and London, England. Mary's Bottom Feeder series gained her acclaim in the States between 2011 and 2013 with a run of successful exhibitions with the American Craft Council and Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, as well as a solo show at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia. She later went on to graduate from the Royal College of Art Ceramics and Glass MA programme in 2016. Upon graduation, Mary became a founding member of Collective Matter with Eva Masterman and Katie Spragg, whose largest project date has been a 6 month Tate Exchange residency at the Tate Modern in March 2017. Mary has also been invited to the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute as an inaugural resident in their international school, and has been twice awarded American Craft Council Awards of Excellence, one of which culminated in a residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences in North Georgia. Her work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in private collections around the world. It has recently been acquired by the JingDeZhen Ceramic Institute in JingDeZhen, JiangXi, China, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Mary is currently represented by Taste Contemporary.
Throughout my practice there is consistent appropriation of historic, decorative objects, and a re-contextualization of past imagery through contemporary socio-political narratives.Ceramics is inherently anthropologic, and so I utilize the medium through research and making to explore cultures and historical narratives both past and present, and most importantly how the two relate. The works I create are timely products, reflective of who and when I am.
As an American and descendant of immigrants, a lifetime of seeking to understand my own cultural identity and family history is paralleled in the way I research what and why I make. Recently, I've been drawn to seventeenth to nineteenth century European and Chinese Export porcelain and applied art, relics from a time of mass global cultural exchange. With the current international conversations regarding immigration, I am finding interesting the juxtaposition between the past's celebration of the exotic and today's closed boarders and xenophobic hate speak. Furthermore, I am interested in the current shift and relationship between political powers, how this trickles down to affect cultural identities and melting pots, and how this is and can be expressed through objects. In creating contemporary work, I explore subversively and through allegory, narratives which discuss the banal essence of pretty things, and the weighty historical contexts from which they originate.