Central to Mary Heebner’s practice is her interest in the numinous qualities of the physical
world and their expression in cultural and natural forms. The artist’s inquisitive practice draws upon
art of the ancient world and from sketches and notations made, often while traveling on assignments.
The interpretative license of her work remains grounded, however, in a cultivated alertness to the
distinct mythology, geology, archaeology, art, language and stories from each locale she explores.
Skilled at the art of papermaking, Heebner incorporates her unique interpretation of antiquities,
landforms, maps, and water forms to create sensuous abstract compositions. The artist uncovers a
spiritual beauty in the earth and its history, and strives to capture, and in some ways re-create, the
warmth and wonder its relics hold.
In the artists own words: “Through my art, I seek connection with the oldest made things and with the soil from which they were shaped. I find that an intense experience in a natural site — the smells, feel, touch and cultural memory — imbues the place with a sacredness that demands something of me. In my practice I employ various media and means to touch the nerve and glimpse at the mystery of being alive and connected to land and people across time. I try to evoke a sense of place through my paintings, collages, handmade paper, photography and fine art books. I try to notice what is vivid and link that with a sensual and well-crafted process.”
Heebner has distinguished herself as an abstract artist, published writer and book artist. Heebner exhibits her work on paper nationally and internationally and has editioned seventeen fine art press books under the imprint simplemente maria press (est. 1995). Her works are held in numerous public and private collections including The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Art, The US Library of Congress, The British Library, Stanford University, UCSB, UCLA, Dartmouth, and several other Special Collections Libraries. Heebner received a BFA from the College of Creative Studies, UCSB and an MFA at UCSB under mentor WIlliam Dole.
In addition to her fine art practice, Heebner designed two bilingual publications that pair her paintings alongside Pablo Neruda’s poetry (On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea and Intimacies: Poems of Love) and she has collaborated on three books with photographer, Macduff Everton on the landscapes of Patagonia, Chile (Patagonia: La Ultima Esperanza, 2014, University of Texas Press) , the American West, (Western Horizon, 2000, Abrams) and Santa Barbara, California (The Book of Santa Barbara, 2010)
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