Mary Dwyer, ‘Nast vs Boss Tweed 1870s’, 2013, ODETTA

Fascinated by American history, Mary Dwyer blends the American Folk Art tradition with an abstract modernist aesthetic. The inspiration of her work revolves around historic lore and love of early portraiture paintings. Drawn from extensive research sometimes found to be inexact and often contradictory, Mary’s work becomes her own personal interpretation of history. She creates series of paintings, which portray political, historic and personal details that shaped an historic figures life.

Thomas Nast

During the 19th century, the American newspaper had as much powerful influence as ‘social media’ has today. Many Americans at that time were not literate and received political and social information from the newspaper cartoon. This gave a cartoonist power. Political cartoonist, Thomas Nast used this power to bring down corruption in New York City. His main targets were William “BOSS” Tweed and his politically corrupt Tammany Hall. Nast frequently sharpened his pen to lampoon the newly arrived Irish catholic immigrant. He also used his cartoons to voice his personal opinions on the Civil War, political campaigns, religion and immigration.

Ms. Dwyer is a 2008 recipient of Connecticut Artist Fellowship Grant. Her work has been shown in museums and galleries in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and London. Her paintings are in the collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut.

Image rights: copyright 2013 Mary Dwyer, all rights reserved

ODETTA, Becoming, Fall 2014