Mary Heilmann: Looking at Pictures

Whitechapel Gallery

8 June – 21 August 2016

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Taking its title from a section of her memoir, the display focuses on the autobiographical nature of the artist's work.

Heilmann studied sculpture, ceramics and poetry but after moving to New York in 1968 made the deeply unfashionable decision to take up painting – at the time her contemporaries such as Donald Judd were declaring it 'finished'. Five decades later Heilmann has forged an incredibly successful career, regarded as one of the key abstract artists of her generation.

Yet however abstract, there is always a personal element to Heilmann's work; her compositions draw from key moments friendships and places in her life, or the music and film she loves. For example, 311 Castro Street is named after Heilmann’s childhood address, while No Passing and Maricopa Highway are inspired by the scenic highways and ocean vistas from her road trips.

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In the slideshow-style piece, Her Life, Heilmann presents images of her work alongside personal photographs and songs. The context such autobiographical elements provides gives enlightening new insight into her practice.

Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sun, 11am – 6pm (Thu until 9pm) Closed 24 – 26 Dec

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