Mary Heilmann (American, b.1940) is an artist who creates abstract paintings and ceramics, and produces furniture. She was born in San Francisco, CA, and received her education from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she obtained a BA in 1962. She also attended the University of California at Berkeley, and received her MA in 1967. In 1968, Heilmann moved to New York. She frequently installs her artwork on top of chairs and alongside benches that she makes herself. Heilmann often receives inspiration from the bright hues and colors of the images seen on the television cartoon series The Simpsons.
The artist began her career as a sculptor and then started to create paintings in the 1970s. Although she is in her eighth decade, her work is often featured in exhibitions that include the work of artists under the age of 40. Heilmann's use of bright colors and youthful concepts may have something to do with the age group of artists with which she is often featured. At one point in her career, she was an instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY. Some of Heilmann's more recent paintings include Ghost Palette (2008), Broken Study (2005), Two-Lane Blacktop (2008), and Surf Study (2008). Some of her furniture work includes Club Chair 29 (2005), Club Chair 28 (2005), and Club Chair 19 (2004).
Heilmann’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions all over the world. She has been exhibited at the Pat Hearn Gallery in New York, the Hauser and Wirth in Zurich, Switzerland, the Crown Point Gallery in San Francisco, the Galerie Meyer Kainer in Vienna, Austria, and the Camden Arts Centre in London, England, among many other places. In 2006, Heilmann won the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award and was also awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Today, Heilmann lives in New York, where she continues to produce artwork.