IN THE RIGHT LIGHT

ARTIST MARY HEIL­MANN SHINES IN A NEW SHOW AT THE FLAVIN IN­STI­TUTE THIS SUM­MER.

Hamptons Magazine - - Contents - BY STEPHANIE MURG

Artist Mary Heil­mann shines in a new show at the Flavin In­sti­tute this sum­mer.

“With or with­out color, I never ne­glect the de­sign,” Dan Flavin once said of the elec­tric-light pieces he con­structed from flu­o­res­cent tubes and fix­tures. The sen­ti­ment could just as eas­ily have come from Mary Heil­mann, an­other artist beloved for her dazzling palette. Fur­ther con­nec­tions— and dis­tinc­tions—be­tween the two are il­lu­mi­nated in a new ex­hi­bi­tion of paint­ings and ce­ram­ics, “Mary Heil­mann: Paint­ing Pic­tures,” open­ing June 29 at the Dan Flavin Art In­sti­tute in Bridge­hamp­ton.

“I wanted to bring Mary into the Dia fold,” says Jes­sica Mor­gan, di­rec­tor of the Dia Art Foun­da­tion, which main­tains the Flavin In­sti­tute. “The pi­o­neer­ing min­i­mal­ist artists associated with Dia, in­clud­ing Flavin and Don­ald Judd, were foun­da­tional for her.”

A Cal­i­for­nia na­tive who stud­ied ce­ram­ics and sculp­ture at Berke­ley, Heil­mann moved to New York in 1968 and be­gan vis­it­ing the East End in the late 1980s, even­tu­ally set­tling in Bridge­hamp­ton and set­ting up a cozy red-barn stu­dio be­side her “hip­pie house” (what she calls her 1920s Sears & Roe­buck spe­cial). Heil­mann’s ap­proach to geo­met­ric ab­strac­tion has al­ways been per­sonal, us­ing ti­tles that namecheck pop­u­lar cul­ture and juicy hues more likely to be in­spired by The Simp­sons than

the Sis­tine Chapel. “Ev­ery piece of ab­stract art that I make has a backstory,” she has said.

Fea­tured in the show are two re­cently com­pleted paint­ings in­spired by time Heil­mann spent with Flavin’s “Icons” se­ries from the early 1960s, when he was be­gin­ning to in­cor­po­rate lights into his work. “Of­ten we as­so­ciate min­i­mal­ism with a cold­ness, a harsh­ness, and in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion, but there’s also a warmth to the works,” says Mor­gan. “With Mary’s hand­made paint­ings and ce­ram­ics, we’re more aware of the emo­tional qual­ity, and bring­ing her work into this new con­text shows that there are so many qual­i­ties they share.” “Mary Heil­mann: Paint­ing Pic­tures” is on view through May 27, 2018, at the Dan Flavin Art In­sti­tute, 23 Cor­with Ave., Bridge­hamp­ton, 631-537-1476; di­aart.org

“EV­ERY PIECE OF AB­STRACT ART THAT I MAKE HAS A BACKSTORY.”

— MARY HEIL­MANN

Shine on: Mary Heil­mann’s Ray, 2017, part of the “Paint­ing Pic­tures” ex­hi­bi­tion, re­flects the artist’s more per­sonal ap­proach to geo­met­ric ab­strac­tion.

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