Episode #116: Mary Heilmann describes a breakthrough she had of combining gestural and hard-edge abstracton in a single painting, combining the legacies of Willem de Kooning and Josef Albers.
For every piece of Mary 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 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 chairs and benches that she builds by hand, an open invitation for viewers to socialize and contemplate her work communally.
Mary Heilmann is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Fantasy of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Download-to-own the full episode from iTunes.