Mary Heebner

Mary Heebner
Visual Artist
Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Through my practice over the past 35 years, I’ve sought connection with the oldest made things and the soil from which they are shaped. Acknowledging the power of ancient presences and landscapes is integral to the creation of my drawings, paintings, collages, photography, and fine art books. Through assignment-driven travels with my husband, photographer Macduff Everton, I’ve learned that travel increases my sense of humanity, makes me take risks, reveals and undermines my prejudices, and stretches my conceptions about art. Physical place has been a wellspring.

I find that an intense experience in a natural site — the smells, feel touch and cultural memory — imbues a place with a sacredness that demands something of me. I employ various media and processes as a means to touch the nerve of being alive and connected to land and people across time. I try to notice what is vivid and link that with a sensual, well-crafted process. My work bears witness to the evidence of time and impermanence, the nets of translation and the holes through which meaning slips.

My media is earth and water: mineral pigments, and anything that can be dissolved or created through water — paint, powdered pigments, the clouds of pulverized pulp I form into sheets of handmade paper. I consider language to be an essential medium as well. I draw, paint, make mixed media collages, alter photographs through drawing and over-painting, write, and also create limited edition fine press books under my imprint, simplemente maria press.

The inspiration for my current exhibit, Intimacies/Intimismos, is twofold. It explores the connection between figure and ground – literally, we carry landscapes within us. The land and how we care for it, or despoil it, is a reflection, a reminder, of beauty and loss. Second, this exhibit is animated by the exchanges between word and image, since this collection of paintings is directly inspired by the poetry of Pablo Neruda and the Chilean landscape in which he resided.