Mary Heebner


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Mary Heebner
About the author

"Through my art, I seek connection with the oldest made things and with the soil from which they were shaped. For over forty years, physical place has been a wellspring of inspiration: this includes the Pacific Ocean’s deckled edge from North to South America; the temple ruins of Southeast Asia; the ancient cave art sites of Southwestern France; Patagonia and Iceland’s rugged terrain, and the that of the Himalaya. Travel increases my sense of humanity, makes me take risks, reveals and undermines my prejudices, and stretches my conceptions about art. I find that an intense experience in a natural site — the smells, feel, touch and cultural memory — imbues the place with a sacredness that demands something of me. In my practice I employ various media and means to touch the nerve and glimpse at the mystery of being alive and connected to land and people across time. I aim to evoke a sense of place through my paintings, collages, handmade paper, photography and fine art books. I try to notice what is vivid and link that with a sensual and well-crafted process" MH2011 Mary Heebner is an abstract artist whose practice, spanning over forty years, references antiquities, geography and human form. She uses a variety of media to make works that bespeak the connection between human and earth forms through time, and that probe the way we perceive and create our personal and cultural histories and memories through a piecing together of fragments. Heebner’s work is represented by Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Los Angeles, CA. Her studio is in Santa Barbara, CA In 2009 her solo exhibition, —Intimacies— at Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York City celebrated the launch of her publication, Intimacies: Poems of Love by Pablo Neruda (Harper Collins, 2008). Her photo based series —Geography of a Face: Khmer—was part of an exhibit of new photography curated by Karen Sinsheimer at Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 2007. In 2006 she was honored with a solo exhibit, —Mani Wall & A Sacred Geography— at The Fowler Museum of Art, UCLA, curated by Marla Berns. She is in collections throughout the United States and abroad, with individual and group exhibitions in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, Seattle, Paris, Oaxaca, Mexico City, the US Embassy Residence in Santiago Chile, The US Chancery Moscow, Russia, (curator Virginia Shore), US Embassy Residence Reykjavik, Iceland. Her paintings and artists books are in numerous collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The US Chancery, Moscow, Russia, The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Louisiana State University Art Museum, Visa Corp., the Eichholz, Berkus and GAP Collections. The British Library, Harvard University, The John Paul Getty Research Institute, The New York Public Library, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, The Universities of California, Stanford University, The Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art. Heebner has participated in the US State Department Art in Embassies Program since 1996, with loans of art to embassies in Yemen, Iceland, Eritrea and Russia. Born in Los Angeles, California. Heebner attended Providence High School, studying with Sister Corita Kent, and the College of Creative Studies at University of California at Santa Barbara, studying with Paul Wonner and Charles Garabedian, then earning her MFA from UCSB in 1977 under sponsorship of artist William Dole. simplemente maria press was founded by Mary Heebner in 1995 when she began combining her paintings and writing, with the publication of Old Marks, New Marks. The press unites place-based inspirations and images with studio practice, print-and-papermaking to create handcrafted books that couple visual art and writing in a variety of formats. As of 2011, simplemente maria press has published 13 artists books. The books are born from projects rooted in studio work plus travel journal writing and drawing. As artist in residence with Ambassador Barbara Griffiths, in 2000, Heebner exhibited her paintings and related artists book, Island: Journal from Iceland, meeting artists and offering speaking engagements with the arts and cultural community of Reykjavik. Heebner’s artwork, and writing, plus several collaborative endeavors with poets such as Pablo Neruda, Alastair Reid, Clayton Eshleman, Michael Hannon & Sienna Craig, are integrated into the design, concept, and substance of each book that is produced by the press. Her most recent artist books are The Tragic History of Hamlet: an artists interpretation of the classic text by William Shakespeare (2008) and Unearthed: an excavation of images and impressions from Chilean Patagonia (2011), with images and text by Heebner.