Mary Heilmann

Mary Heilmann, at work hand-painting her “Serape” design in the FWM studio., c. 1995.

Mary Heilmann, among the foremost American abstract painters of her generation, completed her residency at FWM in 1995. During this time, Heilmann explored connections between painting and printmaking, and even found a way to keep the sumptuous texture of her brushstrokes in the design: immediately after screenprinting the work each stripe is hand-painted while still wet to create the final effect.

The artist has stated, “I’m not averse to gorgeousness, I just want it to look like it happened without a struggle.” ⁠

Heilmann’s Serape, designed and produced in three versions, was inspired by the colors and patterns of traditional Mexican serapes and combined with influence from the artist’s Southern California roots. The resulting yardage, screenprinted on cotton sateen, takes a playful approach to minimalist forms by laying bare the artist’s hand through simple gestures. ⁠

Artist Bio

American, born 1940, San Francisco, CA.

Mary Heilmann studied literature at University of California, Santa Barbara (BA, 1959–1962); poetry and ceramics at San Francisco State University (1963); and ceramics and sculpture at University of California, Berkeley (MA, 1963–1967). Heilmann’s work was the subject of the traveling retrospective To Be Someone, which exhibited at such institutions as the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; the Orange County Museum, Newport Beach, CA; and the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, TX. She has had other solo exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth, London, England and Zürich, Switzerland; Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, Germany; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; 303 Gallery, New York, NY; Zwirner & Wirth, New York, NY; and Crown Point Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Heilmann lives and works in New York.