Mary O’Connell began working in modern dance in the 1970’s, performing in New York City with Mary Overlie and Douglas Dunn and making pieces under the auspices of the Mabou Mines Theatre Company. She also performed in theatre work with Ann Bogart. She moved to Toronto in 1982 and wrote about dance, video and books for Now Magazine and Dance in Canada Magazine. She then taught elementary school for 22 years with the Toronto District School Board. She has a B.A. from Columbia University and a B.Ed. from York University. She has her teacher’s drama specialist training.
Mary O'Connell modeled for me during one Fall and one winter. This was a painting by chance. I was interested in painting Mary from life and when she modeled her presence would conduct the composition. Without thought or plan, when I found the reproduction of St. Sebastian by Mantegna I used it. I have always wanted to paint that Mantegna, but they are difficult to find. So it became Mary O'Connell and St. Sebastian.
Mary O'Connell is a dancer and during the time Mary was modeling she did a dance performance while I stood (on stage) and sang.
(Unpublished notebook entry, 1981)