Ms Mary Gormally

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About me

Mary Frances Gormally is a Visiting Research Fellow in Visual Culture.  She is an Art Historian, a specialist in nineteenth century British Royal Iconography and feminist interventions in art histories and art practices.  She is a critical  commentator on the historical past and contemporary present in couture and fashionable dress designs, labour, writings, curating and exhibiting practices.  Mary is an authority on the work of the international fashion designer Dries Van Noten.  For over 27 years Mary has taught the histories and theories of art, feminism and art practices, theories of visual culture and material culture, specifically in the fields of twentieth and twenty first century fashion and textile design histories and creative practices.  She has taught at Bristol Polytechnic / UWE; the University of Bristol, the Open University and the Institute of Higher Education, Cardiff.

Mary's long established research interests are in representations of the mother-daughter relationship, its complexities and contradictions inscribed in letters, autobiographies, art histories and literature.  Since 2014 her research work lies in matters of curation and exhibition practices.  Her work contributes to contemporary international debates that question curatorial narratives and the work of couture and fashionable dress exhibitions in contemporary cultural life.

Mary currently is combining research work in the V&A photographic archives and the Bath Fashion Museum garment archives.  Her work challenges the limits of visual cultural analysis and works towards fostering new frames of critical engagement in writing, curating and exhibiting practices.  Mary argues that the subject matters of couture and fashionable dress, the political, material, aesthetic, economic, lie at the centre of contemporary debates in visual and material cultural studies.

Recent Publications:

1) A 9000 word review and response to The House of Worth: Portrait of an Archive by  Amy de la Haye and Valerie D. Mendes.  May 2016.  Fashion Theory, the Journal of Dress, Body and Culture.

2) Review of "Dries Van Noten--Inspirations" exhibition at Musee Des Arts Decoratifs, Paris 2014.  Volume 19 Issue 3, September 2015.  Fashion Theory, the Journal of Dress, Body and Culture.

Previous Publications include

Essay in New Art History, Camden Press, 1986.  ISBN-13: 9780948491078

Exhibition Reviewer for Feminist Art News 1985-1986.  Reviews include Nancy Spero and Evelyn Williams at Riverside Gallery London.

A Selection of papers presented:

June 26, 2014.  Exhibiting Fashion/Writing Fashion: matters of curation. Dries Van Noten exhibition in Paris 2014.  V.C. R. G. seminar, UWE: Visualising Histories.

June 28, 2012.  "The Mother-Daughter Correspondence: Queen Victoria-Princess Royal 1858-1870.   Writing Mothers / Daughters 1780-2012.  University of Birmingham conference

May 2005.  "A Tale of Two Paintings: Zoffany's Queen Charlotte at Her Dressing Table" and Landseer's Windsor Castle in Modern Times.  Picturing Innocence Symposium.   Holburne Museum of Art, Bath, in conjunction with Bristol University Department of the History of Art.

June 2001.  "Representations of Queen Victoria, Monarch and Mother 1842-1864."  Symposium on Motherhood, Holbune Museum of Art.



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