Arriving in New York in the late 1960s, Mary Heilmann was energized by the artists occupying the Minimal and Postminimal art scene. Ms Heilmann’s encounters with the work of artists closely associated with Dia’s history, such as Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, made a significant impression while also delineating a clear difference between their practice and her approach to painting.
In the early 1970s, Ms Heilmann began creating art that harnessed everyday domestic objects, repurposing them with a boldly hand-painted touch.
In the late 1980s, she began visiting the East End of Long Island, eventually setting up her own studio in Bridgehampton, where all of her paintings and many of her ceramics have been made since 1999.
Ms Heilmann combines elements of abstraction and Conceptual art with the bright colors, wit, and playfulness of the best Pop artists. Among the preeminent abstract painters of her generation, Ms Heilmann creates works that are both formally adventurous and richly evocative, marked by loose brushwork and bold patterning. In addition to painting, she also works in sculpture, creating small ceramic works that echo the bold palette of her canvases.
As the artist stated, "I'm not adverse to gorgeousness, I just want it to look like it happened without a struggle." More recently, the artist has incorporated chairs of her own design into installations of her works, encouraging viewers to conceive of them as all-encompassing environments.
Ms Heilmann's work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, including the 2007-08 traveling retrospective "Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone," which appeared at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, the Orange County Museum, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. She was included in the 2008 and 1989 Whitney Biennials and the landmark exhibition "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution" (2007-08) at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and MoMA PS1. www.artspace.com/mary_heilmann/ocean-road