The focus of Tonya’s practice is the exploration of everyday life in the public space through context-specific, site specific, participatory and performative interactions and interventions within a place. The visual outcomes of the work are different from one project to another and are responsive to the space and site where they happen, she often collaborates with other artists and the public. The work is presented in unusual, in-between and non art spaces and draws on the unique qualities of a space sometimes relying on public interactions to complete the work. Themes of the everyday run throughout the work alongside strong autobiographical references. Tonya uses her own personal experiences as material to make work that explores our environment and its confines in an attempt to make the work both challenge and touch the participant / viewer.
It’s an interesting condensation of possibilities lying side by side with the construct and concept of failure – of meaning to emerge, of memories to form, of change to be affected [or inflicted]. Negotiating between failure’s embodiment, its affect and its impact is Tonya McMullan’s Criteria for Failure’
Diana Damian on Criteria for Failure, performance presented at the SPILL National Platform, Ipswich, England, November 2012
Her effort to revalue the aesthetics of so called “little arts” (see William Morris) remains worth of attention. Each of the things she displays are treated not just as a property, but as a fellowship between people and things. Slavaka Sverakova on ‘Transform’ by Tonya McMullan, performative installation at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 2013