While teaching drawing in Norwich and Southampton Foá; in conversation with her students, realized she was out of touch with contemporary practice and that her own practice was foundering. In 2002 Foá began an MFA at Central Saint Martins, revisiting her passion for observational drawing in outside places and spaces, Foá explored methods of ‘being in the story,’ through performance and documentation. Tutors on the course included the writer Claire Lofting and writer and critic Kathy Kubicki, both encouraged Foá to do a PhD by practice. Foá began her research in 2006 at Camberwell UAL, supported by a supervisory team of three «2», she continued ‘being in the story,’ through performance drawing, and documentation, and (concerned with environmental issues), searched for evidence of an interaction between an outside environment and a practitioner in the process of drawing. Foá (using her voice as sound material), developed a Driftsinging methodology, and while sounding through outside spaces, revealed interactions with places in reflections echoes and refractions. Through an introduction by her supervisor Professor Stephen Farthing, Foá began writing reviews and interviewing artists for Studio International (aka MK Palomar), and during a research residency (Lethaby gallery CSM), fellow research student, artist and educator Birgitta Hosea proposed that she, Foá and the artist researchers Jane Grisewood and Carali McCall form a performance drawing collective. Drawn Together has been performing, exhibiting and writing together since 2006 «3».
Completing her research in 2011; Foá; craving visual exploration and discovery, and the accompanying transportation that occurs (from the self in place and time), when immersed in material revelry, stepped away from ‘being in the story’ and repositioned herself as storyteller. Drawing from films, as a starting point for a series of suspended vignettes (PIFds: Pictures Inspired by Films and dreaming), Foá wove together images and texts, and using social media as a pacer, posted an image once a day on Twitter (@watchoutmary) and Instagram (#r.and.fmo). These works later developed into pictured stories and a film script of sorts (aka M.M. Kizi). Recent PIFds have become root material for a new series of figurative paintings (aka R & F Mo), concerning narratives of life, seen sensed and dreamed.
Foá lives and works in South London, and teaches drawing at Camberwell and Central Saint Martins.
Exhibitions include: A History of Drawing (Camberwell 2018) Folkestone Fringe (2014) DeptfordX (2014), Drawology (2013 & 2014) C4rd Berlin/London (2011) the Jerwood Drawing prize (2010 & 2006). Drawing works are included in Hyperdrawing (i.Taurus 2012) and Drawing Now (i.Taurus 2007). PIFds and Pictured Stories can be seen at MMkizi.org and are available at Book Art Bookshop, 17 Pitfield St London N1 6HB.
«1» M.Foa, Sounding Out: performance drawing in response to the outside environment. UAL Phd Thesis, 2011. p85
«2» Director of Studies Paul Coldwell, Supervisor Professor Stephen Farthing, Supervisor artist activist & reader David Cross.
«3» Performance Drawing: from 1960 to the present day. Scheduled to be published by Bloosmbury academic in 2019.