Viridian Artists is pleased to present “And Now for Something Completely Different: Textile Compositions by Mary Tooley Parker.” The exhibition spans May 21st to June 15th, 2019. There will not be an opening. It is a rare thing when there is something new to be witnessed in the New York art world, but Mary Tooley Parker’s textile compositions are unique. Textile art has gained a wider visibility in recent years, and Parker’s vision, experimentation, and expansion of one specific traditional textile medium has brought about work refreshingly unlike any art being shown today.
Parker's lifelong fixation with fiber work—from basket weaving to spinning to weaving—running parallel with her 20 years in modern dance and then art production in New York City, eventually seemed to coalesce in the medium of rug hooking. This format combined the meditative, tactile quality of fiber work with the expressivity of feelings and thoughts in dance. Her use of this densely layered, multi-faceted medium presents subject matter from portraits to landscapes to still life in a fresh, new way. And Parker's artistic sensibility and unique views are revealed in this surprisingly attractive form. Textile art is received by the viewer in a different way than fine art, and there is science showing that a different part of the brain is stimulated when viewing a textile. It appeals to the senses, especially touch, and gives a feeling of warmth and familiarity before the brain even registers the visual image. Working in the simple medium of rug hooking affords Tooley Parker a strong connection not only to the fibers running through her fingertips, but also to the women who used this medium and other fiber mediums to express themselves during difficult times and with limited materials. Using this medium as a creative expression of her 21st century experience, she carries this tradition into the contemporary art world by taking the work off the floor to be viewed as art.
“Mary Tooley Parker’s recent show of hooked rugs...reminds us how in the hands of a gifted artist the simplest materials and most prosaic themes can be transformed into an important artistic statement. Parker takes rug hooking to a new level with her vivid fabric tableaus which blend fantasy with craftsmanship.” —William C. Ketchum, author of Hooked Rugs and folk art expert Parker is an award winning artist whose work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums. She is a member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists and the National Association of Women Artists. In 2015 she was awarded a Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. This is her first solo show in New York City.