Mary Heilmann was born in 1940 in San Francisco, California. She earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1962), and an MA from the University of California, Berkeley (1967). For every piece of Heilmann’s work—abstract paintings, ceramics, and furniture—there is a backstory. Imbued with recollections, stories spun from her imagination, and references to music, aesthetic influences, and dreams, her paintings are like meditations or icons. Her expert and sometimes surprising treatment of paint—alternately diaphanous and goopy—complements a keen sense of color that glories in the hues and light that emanate from her laptop, and finds inspiration in the saturated colors of TV cartoons such as "The Simpsons." Her compositions are often hybrid spatial environments that juxtapose two- and three-dimensional renderings in a single frame, join several canvases into new works, or create diptychs of paintings and photographs in the form of prints, slideshows, and videos. Heilmann sometimes installs her paintings alongside chairs and benches that she builds by hand—an open invitation for viewers to socialize and contemplate her work communally.

 

Mary Heilmann has received the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award (2006) and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She has had major exhibitions at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2015); Kunst Museum Bonn, Bonn, Germany (2013); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2008) and Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California (2007), among others. 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; and Orange County Museum of Art. Mary Heilmann lives and works in New York.

 

 

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

 

2017                 "Fast Forward: Painting From the 80s", Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

2016                  "Looking at Pictures", Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK

2015                  “Sunset”, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

2013                  Kunst Museum Bonn, Bonn, Germany

                          “Good Vibrations", Neues Museum, Nuremberg, Germany

2012                   BACA laureate, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands

2008                   New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York NY (retrospective)

2007                   Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston TX (retrospective)

2003                   Secession, Vienna, Austria

1996                  “nuevas abstracciones”, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain

 

 

PUBLIC AND MUSEUM COLLECTIONS

 

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany

Secession, Vienna, Austria

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.

Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York