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Work Samples

Cat's Cradle

Cat's Cradle, 2019, 60"x60", Oil on canvas,

Big Hug

Big Hug, 60"x60", oil on canvas, 2019
Big Hug, 60"x60", oil on canvas, 2019

Lotus Eater

Lotus Eater, Oil on canvas, 16"x20", 2020
Lotus Eater, Oil on canvas, 16"x20", 2020


About Mary Anne

Baltimore City

Mary Anne Arntzen's picture
  I paint self-contained worlds populated with nameable an unnameable objects. In these paintings, I seek solutions to self-generated problems, working intuitively until a resonant moment emerges.  My visual vocabulary borrows from architecture, textiles and cartoons.  Thickly painted impasto, transparent glazes, immediate brushstrokes and slow build-ups of marks coexist on each canvas. Saturated colors and patterns oscillate between harmony and discord, like reams of fabric... more

Funny HaHa

My recent paintings depict overlays and cut-outs. Abstract, organic forms meet the surrounding spaces like puzzle pieces or bodies merging. The forms behave as physical objects; catching light, casting shadows, and weaving through surfaces. Utilizing humor and suspension of disbelief, my paintings reference tromp l'eoil still lives, flat patterns and digital imagery. These elements together create spaces that are simultaneously straight-forward and ambiguous, toeing the line between abstraction and illusionism. Conflicting visual narratives abound as shapes alternately dominate and undermine one another in carefully choreographed chaos. 

Solitary Bees

I build self-contained worlds peopled with nameable and unnamable objects- worlds where stripes, chevrons, and jagged starbursts combine with fleshy, bodily tubes. In each painting, I seek a solution to a self -generated problem. I work intuitively until a dominating moment emerges.
Elements fit together and fight against each other to create a dialogue between passive and active forms or twisted, organic shapes and hand-rendered geometry. They behave as physical objects; catching light, casting shadows, and weaving through surfaces creating entryways and barriers. At the same time, the space is ambiguous: overlapping shapes dominate and undermine each other, toeing the line between abstract form and illusionism.
My visual vocabulary borrows from architecture, textiles and cartoons. The colors and patterns alternately harmonize and talk over each other, like reams of fabric piled on a table. The canvas edges act as limiting factors for the shapes within; lines are confined as they hit the sides of the square and bounce back into the field of the painting like billiard balls meeting the sides of a table.  
The physical state of paint is crucial to my process: I paint thickly, then thinly, dig through, wipe off, and repaint. I braid painted marks together like strands of rope, the portals and obstacles formed entreat the viewer to peer into deeper spaces while also relegating them to the surface. They form frames that weave into one another, allowing differing spaces to enter each other, further complicating the depth and suggesting a transfer between states.

Squares and Nearly Squares

A selection of work created in 2014. In this series I am interested in frames, color, and contrast between flat abstraction and suggestions of illusionistic space.

See Through

This body of work continues to push a play of space and color through literal mark making and mundane, patterned materials. My paintings frame subjects that are often about looking and looking through a surface.
Studying the industrial character of my city, my work often starts from the visual obstructions found in my neighborhood--latticed garden fencing, windowpanes, and decorative cinderblocks. My paintings, like these structures, are made of intertwined bands, diagonal ties crossing, creating surfaces perforated by geometric absences. These forms provide an open system for exploring linear marks, which function as barriers while opening up portholes into areas of color and atmosphere beyond. The patterns in my paintings shift across the surface and between paintings, slowly changing as they accumulate. I use those forms as starting points, distilled into games with color, line and abstract form.

Connect with Mary Anne

Mary Anne's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.