Mary Heilmann (b. 1940, California) is known for her abstract painting, ceramics and furniture that are influenced by 1960s counterculture, the free speech movement, and surf culture. The imaginative color relationships of her work all have backstories imbued with vivid memories and references to music, aesthetic influences, and dreams. Heilmann finds inspiration in everyday encouters, including pop songs, the light that emanates from her laptop, and the yellow-centric palette of The Simpsons. Heilmann’s practice overlays the analytical geometries of Minimalism with the spontaneity of her Californian ethos. Her works are always distinguishable by their often unorthodox—and ever joyful—approach to color and form.
Raised in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Heilmann completed a degree in literature before she studied ceramics at Berkeley. Only after moving to New York in 1968 did she begin to paint. While many painters at the time avoided any allusion of experience outside the material presence of the artwork itself, Heilmann rebelled against this rigid dogma and solidified herself as a true visionary. Her work has appeared in three Whitney Biennial exhibitions (1972, 1989, 2008) and is in many collections, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles) and National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C), among many others.
Fellow abstract expressionist Sam Gilliam also explores vibrant and kinetic color relationships, drawing inspiration from the improvisatory nature of jazz. View his work.
Women in Print29 Oct 2021 - 15 Jan 2022Women in Print is an annual ode to the women who have shaped the world of printmaking. Comprised of works on paper by iconic artists Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Lesley Dill, Mary Heilmann, Helen Frankenthaler and Danielle Orchard, Women in Print shines light on women’s oft-underrexamined roles in the historically male-dominant field of printmaking.Read more
Folio II12 Dec 2020 - 30 Jan 2021Zane Bennett's annual group exhibition features gallery staff favorites from the 2020 collection. Discover artworks by Mary Heilmann, Nick Cave, Helen Frankenthaler and more. FEATURED ARTISTS: Helen Frankenthaler, Mary Heilmann,...Read more
Women in Print25 Sep - 23 Dec 2020Women in Print tells the often-overlooked story of female-founded print workshops, which kickstarted an American printmaking renaissance in the 1960s in 1970s that continues today. Prior to the 1960s, printmaking...Read more
Top Picks | Women's History MonthMarch 5, 2021'If you ask someone walking past you on the street or even in an art gallery to name five male artists, the response will be swift. If you ask the same person to name five female artists, the answer will most likely come after some thought,' says Print Curator Kylee Aragon Wallis in her 2020 statement for Women in Print . That timely exhibition, organized the same year that the Baltimore Museum of Art vowed to only purchase works by women for their permanent collection in an effort to rectify...Read more