Mary Heilmann

Born 1940 in San Francisco, CA
Lives and works in New York, NY and Bridgehampton, NY


MA, University of California, Berkeley, 1967
BA, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1962


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 handmade chairs and benches —an open invitation for viewers to socialize and contemplate her work communally.
Mary Heilmann has received both the United States Artist Oliver Fellowship (2014) and the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award (2006) as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She has had major exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery, London (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).
– Text courtesy of 303 Gallery


303 Gallery, New York


Museum of Modern Art, New York
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Orange County Museum of Art, California
San Francisco Museum of Art, CA
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
Secession, Vienna, Austria
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany