Mary Tooley Parker

Bio and artist’s statement:

Mary Tooley Parker is a textile maker using textiles as paint, and was awarded a 2015 Fellowship by the New York Foundation for the Arts. 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. She then began pursuing an interest in textiles of different forms, eventually leading her to the one indigenous American folk art of hooking rugs. Her hooked artwork focuses on realistic interpretations of people and nature, whether from memories, dreams, or visual images. Incorporated in her work are new and recycled wool, cotton, and silk fabric, fleece, handspun and mill spun yarn, silk fiber, and metallic fibers. She uses natural and synthetic dyes to create colors as needed.

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 Parker a strong connection not only to the fibers running through her fingertips, but also to the women who used this medium to express themselves 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 by taking these rugs off the floor to be viewed as art.


2015 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Folk/Traditional Arts category
2015 Mamaroneck Artists Guild “Small Works” show, Larchmont, NY. Best in Show, David Allen Dunlop, juror
2013 Mamaroneck Artists Guild “Small Works” show, Larchmont, NY. Award of Distinction, Anne von Stuelpnagel, juror

BWAC Wide Open 8, May 13-June 18, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Affordable Art Fair JVS Project Space booth, Metropolitan Pavilion, Chelsea, NYC March 29-April 2
100! Art Exhibit Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in NY, Howland Cultural Center, Beacon, NY. March
Julio Valdez Project Space, Two person show with Alise Loebelsohn, East Harlem, NY, March
Katonah Museum Artists' Association, "Chance", Schoolhouse Theater Gallery, Croton Falls
Blue Mountain Gallery, 530 West 25 St, NYC. 2017 Annual Juried Exhibition, Priscilla Vail Caldwell juror, January


Julio Valdez Project Space Holiday Exhibition 2016, 12/10-1/3, East Harlem, NYC
New York Foundation for the Arts Folk My Life, NYFA Gallery, Brooklyn
National Association of Women Artists at the Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Gallery, NYC
Blue Door Art Center Putting It All Together, Yonkers, NY
NAWA The Creative Muse at the Crayola Gallery at the Banana Factory, Bethlehem, PA
Blue Door Art Center Big Ideas in Small Packages, Yonkers, NY.
Mamaroneck Artists Guild Small Works, Larchmont, NY.
Blue Door Art Center 8th BDAC Artist-Member show, Yonkers, NY.
Field Projects Gallery
Show #28, 526 West 26th Street, NYC.
National Association of Women Artists New Members show, 80 5th Ave, NYC
Barrett Art Center “New Directions ‘15” Poughkeepsie, NY
The Art Students League of NY’s Elizabeth V. Sullivan Gallery at Vytlacil, Summer Exhibition
R Dixon Gallery “By and About Women: Celebrating the Female Spirit” Seneca Falls, NY
Mamaroneck Artists Guild “Small Works” Larchmont, NY
Schoolhouse Theater Gallery, Croton Falls, NY
Katonah Museum Artists Association show “Close to the Edge” , Pound Ridge, NY
Imago Foundation for the Arts Rhode Island
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Gallery in the Park, Pound Ridge, NY
ArtsWestchester’s Gallery9,  White Plains, NY
National Association of Women Artists “Small Works” show, 80 5th Ave. NY
Blue Door Gallery
“Voices”, Yonkers, NY
Mamaroneck Artists Guild “Small Works”, Larchmont, NY Award of Distinction
Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY
Lazarus Gallery, New Rochelle, NY
Bruce S. Kershner Gallery, Fairfield, Ct
Front Street Gallery, Patterson, NY
Blue Door Gallery, Yonkers, NY

Member:  National Association of Women Artists, ArtsWestchester
Board member: Katonah Museum Artists’ Association, Westchester County Historical Society
GQ magazine, Art Production Manager, 1994-1996
Vanity Fair magazine, Associate Art Production Manager, 1987-1994
NYU Tisch School of the Arts, BFA Dance