The Permanent Collections

National Collection of Contemporary Drawing

Marie Foley – Seed Vessels

Seed Vessels

Foley, Marie

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1995, pencil on paper, 44 x 59.5 cm

Marie Foley (1959- ) is primarily known for her work as a ceramic artist. She creates beautifully delicate, small-scale porcelain constructions that she sometimes combines with other materials to create objects that are quite unique in the context of ceramic work.

The style in which Marie Foley has drawn and arranged her illustrated specimens and text on the page in Seed Vessels lends the work an appearance of a sheet torn from a Victorian encyclopaedia or a biology textbook. On closer inspection, we discover that the text is not a straight forward description of the drawn objects; it is a philosophical musing on the origin of things and of a striving to achieve wholeness. The work presents a sort of poetic open questioning of issues that currently concern the artist. The written items are presented in what appears to be an ordered fashion, although there is no strict logical sense to the count.


The focus instead is on the significance of the number three, and the wholeness and balance that this number seems to serve in considering the universe and the general structure of things. The inclusion of Foley’s  handwritten text in this work also invites us to ask questions about writing as a form of drawing. Handwriting is very unique mark-making process; although we are predisposed to read the text before considering its merits as a drawing.


Marie Foley, Primum Mobile 1993, bog oak, ceramic, metal, 39 x 154 x 24 cm (acquired in 1996)






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