Mary Heilmann


*1940 in San Francisco, USA
Lives in
New York
Works with

The term 'slacker' has been used in relation to Heilmann. Another critic used an extended analogy of that most slacker of sports, surfing, in his essay on Heilmann's spirited, though seemingly effortless riffs on abstract painting (the writer was inspired perhaps by the fact Heilmann has titled one painting Surfing on Acid). Others have noted that this painter has no academic qualification in her medium. Instead aside a masters in sculpture and ceramics, the bulk of Heilmann's education come from hitting her twenties in 1960s San Francisco.

The lurid, colours and hints to psychedelia on her often oddly-shaped canvases are all remnants of this more countercultural schooling. The playfulness has a serious side though. Heilmann's relaxed style of minimalism and colour field painting consciously punctures the earnest (male) seriousness of the art history it operates within.