Mary Heilmann

Pat Hearn Gallery

Like many abstract painters who began exhibiting in the early ’70s, the waning days of Minimalism, Mary Heilmann is an empirical artist. What distinguishes her from the rest is the fact that her concern with process, image, and the bond between the two did not lead her to make any of the sanctioned choices. She did not, for example, return to the “what-you-see-is-what-you-see” mode developed by Frank Stella early in his career. At the same time, she neither evolved a “new image” look nor concerned herself with the zany elaborations of an Elizabeth Murray or the tamer decorative elements of a Valerie Jaudon. Given that she has continued to develop from her own beginnings for more than a decade, we should reexamine her accomplishments.

Heilmann studied ceramics in art school, became a sculptor, and then a painter. Her ceramics background—the insights she must have gained into the relationship

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