Mary Heebner (b. 1951) is a painter and book artist based in Santa Barbara, California. Her works often explore the spiritual qualities of the natural world and of ancient cultures around the world. Heebner studied art and literature as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before earning an M.F.A. in 1977 at the same institution while studying with artist William Dole. From early in her career, Heebner’s works incorporated both images and words, a practice that continues today.
Often inspired by her travels around the world, Heebner investigates a specific location’s geology, history, mythology, art, and culture while creating sensuous abstract works, or works on the edge of abstraction, that interpret that location’s relics, maps, and landforms. Heebner works in a variety of media including painting, drawing, collage, handmade paper, and artist books, and sometimes a single work will combine several of these media.
In 1995, Heebner founded Simplemente Maria Press in order to produce her multi-faceted and multi-media artist’s books. Under this imprint, she has published over 15 books, often working with John Balkwill of Lumino Press for letterpress printing and production. Each of Heebner’s books has its origin in her paintings and evolves as she incorporates her research, artwork, and writing into the overall concept and design of the book. These books often connect her studio-based practice and her travel-inspired works. Silent Faces / Angkor (2013), for example, explores the art and mythology of the temple complex in Angkor, Cambodia, through photographs, drawings, handmade paper, and writing. Other books are collaborative projects in which Heebner interprets the work of writers such as William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda, Alastair Reid, and Sienna Craig. One noteworthy example is The Tragic History of Hamlet: An Artist’s Interpretation of the Classic Text by William Shakespeare (2008).
Heebner has an active auction-based resale market and her works can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, the British Library, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and more.
Books with Mary Heebner available from Boreas Fine Art:
[ Heebner, Mary ] Shakespeare, William. The Tragic History of Hamlet: an Artist’s Interpretation of the Classic Text by William Shakespeare. Santa Barbara: Simplemente Maria Press. 2008.
Heebner, Mary. Unearthed: an Excavation of Images from Chilean Patagonia. Santa Barbara: Simplemente Maria Press. 2011.
Heebner, Mary. Silent Faces / Angkor. Santa Barbara: Simplemente Maria Press. 2013.
Heebner, Mary. Intimacy: Drawing with Light, Drawn from Stone. Santa Barbara: Simplemente Maria Press. 2017.
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