Maria O’Toole is based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Her drawing practice engages with a contemporary attitude in drawing that explores resilience, risk and empathy through environmental projects. She creates lyrically abstract drawings influenced by sensory experiences of space and observations of the rhythms within them. She then translates her fragmented thoughts and experiences along with collected scientific information into visual maps and scores. Maria began working as a Drawing Tutor at Toi Rauwhārangi, Massey College of Creative Arts in 2013. In 2015 she headed to Europe to take up an art residency. On her return to Te Whanganui-a-Tara she began work as a Senior Drawing Tutor, teaching into the BFA and BDes program. She has be awarded multiple art residencies and awards and has been a regular finalist in the Parkin Drawing Prize since its inception.


2021 – PhD Fine Arts, Toi Rauwhārangi, Massey College of Creative Arts

2016 – 2021, Senior Drawing Tutor at Toi Rauwhārangi, Massey College of Creative Arts

2014 – Master of Fine Arts (Distinction), CoCA, Massey University, Wellington, NZ

2012 – Postgraduate Diploma, Fine Arts, SoFA, Massey University

2011 – 2001, Freelance Illustration/Design, Wellington, NZ

2001 – Bachelor of Design (Honours), Illustration, Massey University, NZ


AAANZ 2019 Ngā Tūtaki – Encounter/s: Agency, Embodiment, Exchange, Ecologies. Auckland University, NZ


2015 – Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, 28 April – 29 May

2015 – Draw International, France, August/September/October


2020 – Parkin Prize Finalists Exhibition, (MERIT) The Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington, NZ

2017 – Upstream Art Trail, Central Park, Brooklyn, Wellington

2018 – Not Standing Still, Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin

2017 – Parkin Prize Exhibition,  Consonance x 2 pieces of work, The Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington, NZ

2015 – IN RESPONSE, Toi Poneke Gallery, Wellington, NZ (March/April)

2014 – Parkin Drawing Prize Exhibition, The Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington, NZ ( July/ Aug )

2014 – Wellington Regional Art Award, Expressions Gallery, Wellington NZ ( July/Aug )

2013 – Parkin Drawing Prize Exhibition, The Academy of Fine Arts,   Queens Wharf, Wellington, NZ


2020- Drawn Chorus, PhD Examination Exhibition. The Engine Room

2015 – AIR Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, National Portrait Gallery, Wellington, 31 August

2014 – MFA Graduate Exhibition, The Engine Room, Massey University, Wellington, NZ

2013 – Buy Enjoy Exhibition, Enjoy Gallery, Cuba St, Wellington. 2013_BuyEnjoy_Catalogue

2012 – Not really, The Engine Room Gallery, Group, Massey University, Wellington

2012 – Inverlochy Portrait Exhibition, Group. Inverlochy Gallery, Wellington, NZ

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