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Megan Rooney

February 6–September 13, 2020

Floor 3

Megan Rooney is an enigmatic storyteller whose work expands across painting, performance, sculpture and installation. For the artist’s first major solo exhibition in Canada, Rooney transforms a floor of the museum by enveloping it in a large-scale mural, making use of all original walls. This temporary, site-specific environment is home to characters and scenarios composed from ubiquitous household materials, found objects, stuffed fabrics and paint.

Having spent her teenage years in Markham, Ontario, Rooney’s experiences of suburban North America inform her choice of materials, colour palette and subject matter. Her work explores notions of traditional femininity through the lenses of domestic space, the political haven of the garden, consumption-based societies and the mythological. At the same time, Rooney probes how our bodies are informed by and respond to the environments, systems and inanimate objects that surround us. There is an openness and generosity to Rooney’s practice: she single-handedly paints monumental breadths of wall, knowing full well that her work will soon be erased. This attitude, and the improvisational quality of her murals and sculptures, gives us the sense that we can step into her world and out of our own. Coursing beneath the surfaces of Rooney’s objects are undercurrents of fear, insouciance and a revelry in the tender yet spectacular qualities of everyday detritus. The grace of cheap luxuries transformed, and of all the narratives evoked by things bound by place and affinity.


Megan Rooney​ is a Canadian artist based in London, UK. An enigmatic storyteller, her work expands across painting, performance, written and spoken word, sculpture and installation. Summoning a recurring cast of characters that expand and contract across ephemeral incarnations, Rooney engages with materiality, the human subject, and their involvement in the present moment, exploring the chaos of politics and the latent violence of our society, whether in the home, in the female identity, or in the body. Rooney completed her MFA in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College in London in 2011, after finishing her BA at the University of Toronto and growing up between South Africa, Brazil and Canada. Rooney’s work has been widely​ exhibited across Europe, most recently at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2019), 15​ Lyon Biennial, Lyon, France (2019), Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw Poland (2019) and The Serpentine Galleries, London (2019). This is the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in Canada.

Read Emily LaBarge on HUSH SKY MURMUR HOLE


Tour with Artistic Director November Paynter

Public Programmes

Colour Feels with Laura Dawe | February 23

12 pm–4pm

Drop-in and learn how to transform your feelings into abstract paintings. Taking inspiration from Megan Rooney’s exhibition HUSH SKY MURMUR HOLE, Toronto-based artist Laura Dawe will teach you how to express your emotions through texture and shape, invite attendees to consider the metaphoric aspects of their feelings, and learn a variety of mark-making and colour mixing techniques. Leave with two or three small finished works on paper. All materials will be provided.

Laura Dawe is a multidisciplinary artist whose painting and installation work is frequently exhibited by major Toronto commercial galleries. Recently, she completed a collaborative installation in the Drake Sky Yard and an interactive Tarot performance at /edition International Art Book Fair. Dawe teaches a drawing workshop called Joyful Still Lives from her studio and is a drawing professor at Sheridan College. She holds an MFA from OCADU and a BA in History from Dalhousie University.

This workshop occurs on TD Community Sunday. Admission to the museum is free all day!


Included with museum admission.

Presented as part of the exhibition HUSH SKY MURMUR HOLE by Megan Rooney, this three-chapter performance further animates notions of traditional femininity, domesticity, consumption-based societies and the mythological that occur throughout Rooney’s practice. Please join us for the Toronto premiere in the exhibition space on MOCA’s Floor 3.

Choreography: Temitope Ajose-Cutting
Sound: Paolo Thorsen-Nagel
Performers: Temitope Ajose-Cutting, Leah Marojevic, Megan Rooney, Moira Rooney
Direction, Text and Costumes: Megan Rooney

Megan Rooney Supporters Jan 10 2020
Megan Rooney, Installation View: HUSH SKY MURMUR HOLE, MOCA Toronto, 2020. Courtesy the artist, DREI (Cologne). Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.