303 Gallery opens an exhibition of Mary Heilmann's new work

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303 Gallery opens an exhibition of Mary Heilmann's new work
Mary Heilmann, Glassy Wall, 2020. Acrylic on wood and canvas, 9 x 18 1/4 x 1 1/8 inches (22.9 x 46.4 x 2.9 cm) Canvas 8 x 16 x 1 1/8 inches (20.3 x 40.6 x 2.9 cm) Signed, Dated, Titled Verso.

NEW YORK, NY.- 303 Gallery is presenting Daydream, Mary Heilmann’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery since 2005. On view are new paintings, ceramics, and an installation of brightly colored furniture designed by the artist. The exhibition title speaks to Heilmann’s intuitive approach while at work in her Bridgehampton studio on Long Island’s East End, an area known as a historic haven for artists since the days of Roy Lichtenstein, Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, and Jackson Pollock.

A California native, Mary Heilmann has been gazing out at the ocean since the age of three; she hasn’t stopped looking in the time since. Across Heilmann’s surfaces, waves swiftly build in one canvas before crashing over into the next. Several panoramas incorporate undulating twigs to delineate the frothing lip of a cresting wave, glassy and luminous in translucent swathes of turquoise and teal. Elsewhere, two intersecting squares center on a foamy white and emerald spiral, or the cross section of a curling barrel as seen from the inside.

In Red Break and Spill, splashes turn a brilliant scarlet, bursting forth as gauzy floods and blooming daubs of pigment. Pools of bright colors reappear throughout the exhibition, cropping up in small groupings like meandering thoughts or else punctuating the gallery walls as glossy, ceramic spots. Ever a master of suffusing the formal language of abstraction with glimmers of things seen, heard, and felt, Heilmann lends her works a sense of lyricism and animation.

The artist’s arrangement of furniture beckons viewers to settle in and immerse themselves within the exhibition. Comprised of a table inlaid with hand-made ceramic tiles and a smattering of chairs in natural wood and citrus hues, the arrangement provides a site for conversation and meditation, encouraging visitors to let their minds wander.

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 hues of popular culture at-large. 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’s discerning eye for geometry and color extends to her handmade tables and chairs, which she stages in intimate seating arrangements and expansive interventions, as in her site-specific work Sunset, which filled the terrace of the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2015.

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 Whitechapel Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2016); 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. In June of 2022, Primary Information published a facsimile edition of her highly revered 1999 memoir-monograph, The All Night Movie. In November of 2022, Dia Art Foundation will be honoring Mary Heilmann at their annual fall gala in New York City. Mary Heilmann lives and works in New York and Bridgehampton.

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