Mary Tooley Parker
After a career in dance, and then in art production at Vanity Fair and GQ magazines, Parker left New York City for a more rural environment north of the city. She then began pursuing an interest in textiles of different forms. This led her eventually to the one indigenous American folk art of hooking “rugs.”
Parker am an artist using textiles as paint. Her work focuses on realistic interpretations of people and nature, whether from memories, dreams, or images. Incorporated in her work are new and recycled wool, cotton and silk fabric, handspun and mill spun yarn, fleece, silk fiber, and metallic fibers. She also uses
natural and synthetic dyes to dye these materials into the colors she wants. 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 this simple medium
affords her a strong connection not only to the fibers running through her fingertips, but also to the women who used this medium to speak during what was a much more difficult time. Using this form as a creative expression of her experience carries the tradition into the contemporary art world.