Maryclare Foá

Maryclare Foá graduated from RCA (Illustration) in 1984 (she was awarded the RCA drawing prize). Inspired by her tutor Linda Kitson, Foá began her passion for Flaneury (according to Beaudelaire’s Constatine Guys «1»), and privileged with cheap standby flights and the freedom to roam, Foá focused on reportage drawing (documenting stories from observations). After journeys to The Arctic, Papua New Guinea and America where Foá exhibited her work (The Leighton’s Gallery Maine), Foá returned to the UK, and found a cottage on an estate in the Brecon Beacons National Park. From there she completed a number of illustration commissions and began painting narrative themes of personal mythology. Victoria Keeble introduced her to Lizzie Organ at The Kilvert Gallery, and Organ generously supported and encouraged Foá by regularly exhibiting and selling her work. Clare Jarrett (who had tutored Foá at the RCA), recommended her for a teaching position at Gloucestershire College of Art (working for Terry Murphy on his Foundation course), and from that time onwards Foá has continued to teach in colleges around the UK. In 1992 Foá’s solo show Dreams and Journeys was exhibited at Llantarnam Grange, later that same year Foá returned to London and (again privileged with the freedom to roam), undertook a lecture tour around Maine U.S.A. and worked to build connections between art colleges in Southern Africa and the UK, visiting Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique.

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.


Best beloved Maryclare Foa
Maryclare in her studio
Custard upsets me 2019
Custard upsets me 2019
Sometimes its difficult to have an idea 2019
Sometimes its difficult to have an idea 2019