Wednesday, 4 February 2015

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Marjory Mulrooney & Megan Dunford

MARJORY Mulrooney is a local artist making new work and exploring experimental techniques and media. She studied Fine Art at Plymouth University and the University College of London and spent many years working and teaching in the UK, Europe and Sultanate of Oman. She settled in Dorset two years ago with her husband Hugh after running life-drawing workshops in France for eight years. Megan Dunford was born and raised in Dorset and is the exhibitions assistant at Bridport Arts Centre. She studied a BTEC Diploma Foundation in Art and Technology at Somerset College before studying a Fine Art Painting Degree in Cardiff. Megan has since moved back to Dorset where she works for several local arts organisations. They are currently joint curating an exhibition called ‘CRE8’ which will feature work from a group of eight women artists in West Dorset and will be on display at the Chapel in the Garden on east Street. 

WHAT inspired you to work in art?
Marjory: I have always been fascinated by the materials used in making art. From the age of eight when I was given my first ‘real’ box of paints - a lovely black metal box containing perfect little pans of watercolour with mysterious names like 'Rose Madder', 'Gamboge' and 'Viridian' - one of the main starting points for any work has been the material itself. In the past year, I have made pieces which have explored the rich, reflective qualities of graphite. So instead of using it as a pencil, I have made graphite itself the subject of the works, creating abstract, textural images. I am currently looking at other non- traditional materials and will be showing works made from tea bags, string and fishing line in forthcoming exhibitions.
Megan: Curating is becoming more and more of a fascination and a passion for me, so to be able to put on such an interesting exhibition at the Chapel in the Garden, with such an interesting mix of artists is brilliant! My work changes all the time, but I am mainly interested in abstract colour in the landscape and the contrast of surfaces/ materials next to each other. For this exhibition at the Chapel I will be making some new work that reflects the Women of the Wildcat Strike of 1912 and the struggle they had to go through to fight for their rights as Women.

COULD you tell me more about the upcoming exhibition ‘CRE8’?
Marjory: This show grew out of an involvement with the group of women who decided to recreate photographs taken in 1912 of the women workers at Gundry’s who went on strike in protest at their wages being cut. They were among the first women in Britain to take action in order to better their working lot and the intention is to re-enact their protest on Saturday, February 14th starting in Bucky Doo Square and marching to the spot where they were photographed 103 years ago. Megan and I will be among those taking part in the march as well as the exhibition, which is another way of celebrating the work of artists living and working in the Bridport area, who also happen to be women. In a way it is a tribute to those women of 1912 who were such strong role models. There is much more information on the Bridport Wildcats – as they are known – online. Just goggle Bridport Wildcats. The photographs will be taken by Rachel Dunford who will also be showing work in the exhibition.

WHAT other art based projects have you done?
Megan: I also work freelance as a visual art promoter and have worked on events such as Dorset Art Weeks, Dorset Art Fair and Bridport Open Studios. ‘CRE8’ is the first show I have curated without backing from an organisation or event, so very exciting and daunting.
Marjory: I have shown work in a number of countries including Oman, where I spent seven years working and teaching, and in France where I also ran life-drawing workshops for eight years. On returning to the UK, we settled in Penzance, Cornwall, where I showed work with the St Ives Society of Artists and in other gallery shows before moving to Bridport in May 2013. I collaborated in a group show at the Chapel in the Garden with Megan and three other artists in August 2014 as part of Bridport Open Studios.

BESIDES the upcoming exhibition, are you currently working on any other events and exhibitions?
Megan: I have so many ideas for exhibitions or projects later this year, but nothing set in stone yet!
Marjory: I will be showing work in the foyer of the arts centre in June/July 2015, it will be a selection of my most recent works on paper and will be called ‘Out of Line’.

IF you could live your life again, what would you be?
Marjory: I have worked as a teacher in a number of countries besides the UK – mainly in Bulgaria, Germany and the Sultanate of Oman. If I hadn’t become an artist I would have loved to be a musician. Musicians are welcomed wherever they go and I always regret that I never had an opportunity to learn to play an instrument. Of course if you are a singer you can travel light as you carry your instrument with you. That must be the best of all. However, I always wanted to be an artist and am perfectly happy to be able to share what I do with others. It never gets easier though!
Megan: I still feel like I have the rest of my life ahead of me as I am not yet 26. I agree with Marjory to be a musician would be fun, if not difficult at times. However if I had to start again, I would like to be born in a different country, somewhere along a warm coast in the Mediterranean. I love being outdoors and by the sea so this would suit me perfectly.

WHAT is the one thing you like most about working with art?
Megan: It is never boring and you are always changing, adapting and learning.
  • ‘CRE8’ will be at the Chapel in the Garden, East Street, from Tuesday, February 10th to Saturday, February 14th at 10am to 4pm and Sunday, February 15th from 12noon to 4pm. Visit for more details

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