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About Me

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Born in Pittsburgh, PA, I cannot remember a time when I did not love to draw.   Attending art classes as a teenager at the Carnegie Museum, and then pre-collge classes at the Carnegie Institute of Technology.  Carnegie Tech became Carnegie-Mellon University the year I began my freshman year  there.  After graduation, I moved to California, drawn by the ocean, the color, and the light. 

 

Heavily influenced by the Abstract Expressionists, my concerns have always been less about content and more about formal composition.  I see color, shape, line, form, space and texture—and the feelings they evoke when arranged in a way that “works”-- as my subjects.

A certain amount of discontent seems to fuel my creativity—it might be my desire to make change, to discover something new, to look underneath, and to dig deeper.  In love with surfaces, I work spontaneously and intuitively, scraping away, building up, losing all thought, feeling aroused, surrounding myself with and indulging in color, striving for stillness and peacefulness, pursuing and loving complexity, intensity, contrast, change and cacophony. I hope a viewer can look at my work, and, without words, be absorbed in the moment, taking in color, line, and texture—feeling both my joy and my longing.

A Change of Perspective

At the beginning of the pandemic I experienced, listened to, and witnessed so much grief that, at times, I felt I couldn’t hold it all. My work became darker and  I found myself painting large vessels, closed doors, escape boats and fire escape ladders.  While I was trying to process all of this, I listened to a conversation between Anderson Cooper and Steven Colbert.  They both had lost their fathers when they were
young, and they were talking about grief.  Colbert asserted that grief was a gift.  He stated his belief that life (all of it) was a gift.  And since grief is always an inevitable part of life, then grief must be a part of that gift. 

Mary Ann Studio

For me, that translates into understanding why I don’t compartmentalize or privilege one kind of feeling over another. It means embracing what John Kabat-Zinn called “The Whole Enchilada.”  It means that when we have a “gratitude practice” (as we are often urged to do these days) that our gratitude must extend to the grief and pain we experience as well as to the more obvious joy.  If we have grieved, we have loved.  If we feel pain, we have felt pleasure.  If we pay attention, then our so called “dark experiences” enhance our empathy and compassion for others, and they can also lead us toward the light. 

What I love about abstract art is that it can express all of this. In these difficult and hard times, my paintings seem to have become darker. I am not afraid of the dark--and am also able to look for and find the light.

"Take a canvas.  Put a mark on it.  Put another mark on it."
                                                                                                 Jasper Johns

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