Mary Heilmann: Looking at Pictures

I always enjoy seeing exhibitions dedicated to the work of female artists -in times gone by these have been all too rare – and after reading an interesting interview with Mary Heilmann online, I decided I had to pay a visit to the Whitechapel Gallery’s latest show.

It took years for Heilmann to gain recognition, but she is now regarded as one of the key abstract artists of her generation. The exhibition ‘Looking at Pictures’ surveys her fifty year career.

For me Heilmann brings a fresh, open attitude to painting. Her works are abstract, but not in the usual tense, uptight way. They are formed through personal experiences, of people and place, feelings and emotions. Because of this her paintings have life in them and an unusual vibrancy.

I like her almost-playful style, it’s difficult not to be lifted by the buoyancy of her works, they are simple, honest and cool. For me the summer is a time to reflect and seek new inspiration, and this exhibition is a perfect summer show!

Mary Heilmann

The ocean was clearly a major source of inspirastion for Heilmann, who grew up in southern California. I love the way she captures the energy, power and embrace of the sea here. 

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Mary Heilmann

A ceramicist as well as an artist, Mary Heilmann often applied paint in a similar way to glazes, in semi transparent layers.

I always love seeing details from artists’ sketchbooks, a chance to see an artists’ thoughts as they develop

 

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