‘Memory Remix,’ Mary Heilmann’s first Los Angeles solo exhibition in over 20 years, is a survey of paintings, ceramics, and furniture in which the artist’s unwavering dedication to abstraction merges with sly references to her favorite landscapes, songs, movies, and Mexican weavings. This preeminent American artist is acclaimed for her unique ability to deploy the analytical geometries of Minimalism with the spontaneous freehanded spirit of the Beat Generation from which her generation emerged, and for her weaving of pop culture influences into a wholly original and pioneering oeuvre. Heilmann’s deft handling of paint and spatially dichotomous compositions have exerted a profound influence upon a younger group of artists.
Grounded in the soul of California, Mary Heilmann’s work draws from her memories of the distinctive colors and lines of the West Coast’s landscape and surf culture. Throughout a childhood accompanied by the radio’s ubiquitous soundtrack, Heilmann often watched the ocean tumble to the shore, rode the ‘mountain waves’ at Manhattan Beach, and read Allan Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass,’ which stoked her great admiration for poetry, jazz, and the idea of the Beats. Under these influences and through the deceptively simple means of painting – color, surface, and form – Heilmann physically manifests nostalgic impulses, memories, and allusions to popular culture that remain accessible on both personal and universal levels. In this way, her work transcends the seemingly opaque structures of geometrical abstraction by infusing it with the content of daily life. ‘Memory Remix’ is on view through September 23 at Hauser & Wirth 901 E 3rd Street Los Angeles. photographs by Oliver Kupper