Mary Teague (b. 1971) deciphers objects and materials across painting, sculpture, print-making and performance, exploring relationships between found and created elements. Her recent work reconfigures the materials of structure and support and the artefacts of fictional events and performances as primary aesthetic objects. Posters, empty cardboard photo-mount frames, rope and wood armatures and other devices for presentation and display are foregrounded and enlarged beyond their usual dimensions. Although materially rich and allusive, these works delineate a certain absence at the core of artistic production; the spectator is drawn into, but denied a direct engagement with the artist.
In earlier paintings, found photographs are collaged onto a repeated abstract gesture, a physical working of paint. Teague’s paintings, however, never remain in a two-dimensional domain. Via collage and more sculptural combine, the sensual, materially-dense realm that the viewer inhabits is activated. She also works with installation, photography and video.
She completed her Masters of Fine Art in sculpture at Goldsmiths College, The University of London in 1995, enabled by a New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship (1992). The same year she completed her Bachelor of Fine Art at the College of Fine Art at The University of New South Wales. She was also awarded a Dyson Bequest by the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1993. Since then, Teague has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally (especially in New Zealand and the US).
Teague produced Dress Code: The World's Longest Bar (Mildura Workingman's Club), an ambitious outdoor work comprising a monumental ephemeral sculpture and participatory performance in collaboration with Sara Oscar for Mildura Palimpsest Biennial #9, Victoria (2013).
Recent solo exhibitions include Language of Art at The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2014); We bake our own bread at DB Projects, Sydney (2013); Psychic Oasis at The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2012); Michael Lett Gallery, Auckland (2010 and 2006) and James Dorahy Gallery, Sydney (2007).
In 2013, Teague presented a two-person exhibition, Act Hunger, with Diena Georgetti at The Young, Wellington. Group exhibitions include TEXIT, curated by Scott Donovan at Artspace, Sydney (2015), Work, curated by Helen Johnson, Slopes, Melbourne (2014), We come in PEACE, curated by Scott Donovan, ICAN, Sydney (2014); 20/200 at Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney (2014), The 62nd Blake Prize, Galleries UNSW, Sydney (2013), Rimbaud/Rambo, curated by Geoff Newton, Neon Parc, Melbourne (2008); Arps/Teague/Georgetti, Michael Lett Gallery, Auckland (2007); Predictive txt, Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington; Islands in the Stream, curated by Nick Tsoutas, Artspace, Sydney (2003); New York Calling, curated by Elvis Richardson and Sally Ann Rowland, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Soft Panic, curated by Mikala Dwyer, 200 Gertrude Street, Melbourne (2000); Child Bride, curated by Hany Armanious, Artspace, Auckland (1997).
A major public sculpture, Lines of Communication (2010), produced collaboratively with Hany Armanious for Investa, is permanently located at 16-40 Mount Street, North Sydney. Lines of Communication was curated for Investa by Barbara Flynn.
Teague was the recipient of the 2013 New South Wales Visual Artist Residency at the Darling Foundry in Montréal, Canada, administered by Artspace, Sydney. Her work for her solo exhibition, Language of Art, at The Commercial was developed during the Montréal residency. A review of the exhibition, written by Eleanor Ivory Weber, was published in London-based Frieze Magazine (September 2014).