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Mary Heilmann

Mary Heilmann

43715 ca object representations media 6957 publiclarge
Mary Heilmann

Roles in Archive: Artist, Speaker

10 Chatham Square - Time on the Bowery: 1970 - 1977;

Mary Heilmann (b. 1940) is one of the preeminent artists of her generation—a pioneering painter whose work injects abstraction with elements from popular culture and craft traditions. A “painter’s painter,” her straightforward, seemingly loose and casual approach belies a witty dialogue with art historical preconceptions. Heilmann’s work has been deeply influenced by her personal experiences. The impact of her thoroughly West Coast childhood is seen in the vibrant, lusty color palette, sense of boundless possibility, and experimentation for which Heilmann’s paintings are known. The sense of movement and rhythm evident in the work are connected to Heilmann’s enthusiasm for popular music ranging from Brian Eno to the Sex Pistols, to k.d. lang and beyond. Her free abstractions, combined with an element of autobiography, have made Heilmann’s paintings highly influential to a younger generation of artists. Ultimately, Heilmann’s practice can be seen as an all-encompassing network linking genres, styles, friends, locations, and histories—enabling each individual work to speak eloquently on its own terms as well as in a larger chorus.

Heilmann’s museum retrospective “To Be Someone,” organized by Orange County Museum of Art, toured the USA from 2007–09. Her work has been seen in solo exhibitions at Secession, Vienna; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin; and Camden Arts Centre, London, as well as in numerous one-person gallery shows.