Mary Heilmann: Side Show Bob, 2001 (Detail)
Side Show Bob, 2001 (Detail)

Mary Heilmann

American artist Mary Heilmann (born 1940 in San Francisco, lives and works in New York) shows an exhibition of new oil paintings and works on paper at the Galerie Hauser & Wirth. Her abstract works, which she started in the 70's, have attracted a wide audience in Europe since the artist participated in major exhibitions such as "Der zerbrochene Spiegel" (The Broken Mirror) at the Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna) or in "nuevas abstracciones" (New Abstractions) at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid in 1996. Additionally, Heilmann had several large-scale solo exhibitions, including a show at the Zürcher Stiftung für konstruktive und konkrete Kunst in 1997 and at the Camden Arts Centre in London this year.

Mary Heilmann creates compositions that evoke a variety of associations. Her work may be non-representational and based on an elementary, geometrical vocabulary - circles, squares, grids and stripes - but there is always something slightly eccentric, casual about them. The simplicity of the forms is played down by a deceptive form of nonchalance. Heilmann's casual painting technique conceals a frequently complex structure that only gradually reveals itself to the viewer. Above all, the artist brings out the symbolism of colour, emphasising the qualities of colour's subtle nuances, its potential for arousing emotion and evoking associations with consummate skill.

Heilmann communicates her personal experiences through her compositions. Not, however, in the sense of a literal illustration, but as the eloquent abstraction of a moment in the past - or in the future.

Heilmann's paintings describe a personal world, but it is a world with which the viewer is familiar. This allows a dialogue to take place that extends far beyond the merely formal observation of a work of art: everyday events are hinted at, fragments of pop or high culture can be discerned, music, literature and film are cited. In other words, life in all its richness is expressed in these apparently so simple, abstract compositions, in which, to quote Mary Heilmann, "stories are told in songs - elliptically, poetically, in the form of allusions, hidden references or riddles to be solved."

Ausstellungsdauer: 27.10. - 22.12.2001
Oeffnungszeiten: Di-Fr 12-18 Uhr, Sa 11-16 Uhr

Galerie Hauser & Wirth
Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich
Telefon: 01-446 80 60
Fax: 01-446 80 65