January 24, 2010
A New Rug Hooking Project: Pink Triangles, with an Homage to Mary Heilman
With this new project, I am back to straight line geometry after the organic curves of Roundabout and the geometric curves of Swing. This 12 inch square has lopped off corners, a design that could come from Ellsworth Kelly.
The slightly wacky color – somber blacks with hot pink – is inspired by the work of Mary Heilman. I've admired her exuberant, off kilter abstraction for many years; last winter the New Museum of Contemporary Art in NYC mounted a exciting retrospective called "Mary Heilman: To Be Someone". Her paintings have a fresh, direct energy that makes simple geometries playful and personal. I would place her in my little category of "funky minimalism", along with Richard Tuttle. There's a similar sense of freedom from restraint, yet working with basics, in both artists. I love Heilman's use of unconventional color, especially pink, which appears in many of her paintings, sometimes paired with black. She's given us, in Guitar, a sassy feminist ("I enjoy being a girl"?) take on the high-art seriousness of abstraction. She has an inventive way of using multiple panels to make an image, as in Chartreuse. In all her work, a sure and juicy brush paints emotional life into geometry.