Mary Lou Dauray, Iceberg Wasteland, detail of tryptich

Interview With Artist Mary Lou Dauray

Special Recognition Second Place Cash Award Winner in “HERStory 2016”

Featured Artist Interview conducted by Renée Phillips

Mary Lou Dauray is an award-winning environmental artist, writer, activist and blogger who lives in Sausalito, California. The artist recently won a Special Achievement Second Place Cash Award and Featured Artist Interview from Manhattan Arts International in its “HERStory 2016” juried exhibition. She received this award for her ongoing series of art and articles that help to raise awareness about climate destruction, pollution, and global warming.

Her art work varies from realistic to semi-abstract with sizes as small as 6” x 8” to as large as 54” x 54″.

Mary Lou Dauray creating a painting from her Coal Burning series.
Mary Lou Dauray creating a painting from her Coal Burning series.

As an artist who is highly proficient in many mediums, Dauray communicates powerful messages while also creating paintings of extraordinary beauty. Her mastery of composition and color dominates any subject and series she chooses to explore.

Mary Lou Dauray’s art work is in numerous collections around the globe including the Sophie Davis Medical School, City College of New York, and many private collections. Her many exhibitions  include those at the Virginia Art Museum,  University of Southern California Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, and Runnymede Corporate Headquarters, VA.

In this interview she shares information about her “Nuclear Series”, “Ocean Series” and “Coal Series”.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artist’s permission. Click on images for larger views.

Mary Lou Dauray
Mary Lou Dauray, “Iceberg Wasteland”, cropped portion of the triptych, oil on linen.

Mary Lou, one of the first paintings I saw of yours is “Iceberg Wasteland”, from your “Ocean Series”. Would you share some information about the painting and the Iceberg series?

MLD:  “Iceberg Wasteland” is a large triptych painting that I created for a two-person exhibition “Aging People/Aging Planet”, presented at the University of Southern California Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery in Los Angeles, California.  It is one of the paintings from my series of Iceberg paintings that were shown at the Olympics in London under the auspices of “Art of the Olympians” to tie in with an environmental panel discussing the impact of climate change.

This series is devoted to raise awareness about the disappearing huge ice fields, giant glaciers and sea ice due to massive pollution residue from the burning of fossil fuels.

This painting also received an Award of Excellence from Manhattan Arts International’s “Celebrate The Healing Power of ART” juried competition and exhibition in 2013 that was juried by Jill Conner, NY art critic/curator; Barbara Markoff, art consultant/gallery owner; and Renee Phillips, director, Manhattan Arts International.

Mary Lou Dauray, Burning Coal, Train, oil, 40" x 30.
Mary Lou Dauray, Burning Coal, Train, oil, 40″ x 30.

What was the catalyst that brought about your “Coal Series”?

MLD: I decided to pursue this direction after a visit to Czestochowa, Poland. While on a train there I viewed a carbon black lake surrounded by rings of dead black trees. I knew without a doubt that this situation was caused by pollution from the burning of coal and I became sick to my stomach. The more I learn about coal the more I know that I need to use my art to bring attention to this serious pollution situation.

Coal plants are the nation’s top source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the primary cause of global warming.  Burning coal is also a leading cause of smog, acid rain, and toxic air pollution.

Mary Lou Dauray, Black Bird, acrylic, 24" x 24".
Mary Lou Dauray, Black Bird, acrylic, 24″ x 24″.

What led to your current  “Nuclear Series?

MLD: In the Japanese Fukushima Prefecture you cannot help but glance around and see at least 54,000 very organized stacks holding more than 9 million neatly packed plastic storage bags. These enormous black sealed bags are filled with radioactive soil and all kinds of sizzling waste collected since the Fukushima Daiishi triple nuclear meltdown on March 11, 2011.

The painting (shown above)  “Black Bird” depicts only one of 30 million plastic storage bags stuffed with radioactive waste in the Fukushima area in Japan. These bags are part of a seemingly futile effort to clean up contaminated soil in the area. In the bottom right corner of my painting you can see a little black bird. It refers to what appears to be an gradual decline of the bird population as a direct result of the triple nuclear power plant meltdown. There is now a dead zone in the area.

“Black Bird” is currently being shown in the “HERStory 2016” exhibition, and won the Special Recognition Second Place Cash Award.

Mary Lou Dauray, “Erupting Geyser”, oil on canvas, 30” x 24″.
Mary Lou Dauray, “Erupting Geyser”, oil on canvas, 30” x 24″.

Please tell us what inspired another powerful and expressive painting of yours titled  “Erupting Geyser”

MLD: On one of my trips to Iceland I was in awe of the rough, raw beauty and at the same time felt an underlying nervousness that Mother Nature could destroy it at any moment. The air was pristine and the creative industries there are among the biggest in the country. The sky and light were memorable and the steaming geysers gave evidence of the immense amount of thermal power under the land.

What keeps you motivated to tackle such difficult topics?
As an artist I am creating works that bring a very different approach and view than what is found in the scientific and academic worlds. I know that art has the power to challenge me and also to change the world to make it a better place.

Visit Mary Lou Dauray’s page in the Artist Showcase Gallery:

Listen to an interview with Mary Lou Dauray in Mrs. Green’s World

Visit Mary Lou Dauray’s website

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