Pleased to have my work accepted into
The Artists Alliance of East Hampton
Holiday Virtual Show
November 21 – January 1, 2021
Pleased to have my work accepted into
I am honored to have my painting “Pay Attention Here – Orange Hibiscus” on the cover of the Fall 2020 Newsletter of NAWA, The National Association of Artists. I was juried as a full member into this prestigious historic organization in November of 2018.
NAWA was founded on January 31, 1889 to offer women a greater opportunity as professional artists in a male-dominated art world. From the onset, the annual exhibitions of the women’s Art Club were a great success, attracting the participation of women artists such as Mary Cassatt, Suzanne Valadon, Rosa Bonheur and Cecelia Beaux. As the organization grew, its membership included prominent artists like Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Many members have taken their rightful place among the recognized artists of their time. Louise Nevelson, Nell Blaine, Alice Neel, Marisol, Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro, Janet Fish, Audrey Flack and Faith Ringgold. It is a great honor for me to be afforded such an inspiring brush with history and talent.
For years, I have created floral and garden paintings as the subject of my art. During the last number of years, I’ve focused ever more closely on the centers of flowers as they speak to me more deeply of the reason for their existence. And ours as well.
As a passionate gardener, I am inspired by the gardens I designed and tend surrounding my own studio in Northport. These flowers represent to me a microcosm of the universe. The outsize scale of these individual flower portraits demands attention. They ask questions beyond the canvas.
What is the purpose for such magnificence in nature? What is the reason for such color, such form, such diversity? What is their relationship to the communities in which they belong, their relationships with other plants and species that sustain them, invade them and nourish them? What of their lifecycle of birth, growth, senescence and rebirth? As humans, what can we learn from their seemingly simple existence?
Initially, we see with our eyes. We name the subject, identify it and classify it. But, we also have a duality of vision which allows us to contemplate with an inner vision. This art invites both the external and internal views.
The dual naming of each painting reflects the complex meaning of the work and is an enticement to think more deeply about the subject. This painting, Pay Attention Here – Orange Hibiscus, is at first a call for contemplation of purpose and secondarily, the common name of the flower which enables a more familiar entry into the conversation.
“Not Just Another Pretty Flower” Artist Talk with Firefly Mary Ahern: Winter may be coming, but flowers are blooming at the Firefly! Come, meet Mary Ahern and her bold, vibrant garden landscapes and flower portraits.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to hear this award-winning artist speak about how, over decades, her gardens inspired in her a deeper consideration of existence and purpose, and how her thoughts evolved and expanded as she moved closer and closer to the floral centers.
As a classically trained artist, Mary has created her vision through traditional as well as diverse digital mediums. Her work has been shown extensively from New York City to the Hamptons. Now, you can see her at The Firefly Artists Gallery in the beautiful Village of Northport.
Says Ahern, “My Art Starts in the Garden, which inspires me to create Art that asks questions beyond the canvas. Flowers represent a microcosm of the universe in their quest for life. Whether creating with digital or traditional mediums, flowers and gardens lead me to express not just with my eyes but also with my soul.”
A journey of discovery with no foreknown destination was set into motion and this exhibition is the momentary culmination. This exhibit includes artists who have collaborated beyond their medium of expression, artists both experienced and new at collaborating, parents with their adult offspring, varied processes that combine music, video, garden, humanity. This will excite you and get your creative juices bubbling…but you won’t over-heat. The Islip Art Museum is air-conditioned.
Mary Ahern is a painter and Mary Schlotter is a floral designer.
We are both Marys and we are also both passionate gardeners. We have joined forces in a number of art shows using our own respective mediums. In these collaborations we select a theme which, for both of us, always includes plant material. We discuss issues of color, size, proportion and duration before the work begins. Usually the two dimensional artwork comes first since it takes longer to create. Then the magic of interpreting those works into three dimensions including the issues of time and sustenance are explored. In our collaborations we offer each other tremendous freedom yet within creative boundaries. Our temperaments and our awe of the natural world surrounding us is the fulcrum of all of our work whether we are collaborating together or working alone.
As a passionate gardener, my art is as intricately entwined as the gardens surrounding my studio. Cultivating and tending these gardens is the first stage of creating the art that grows in my studio.
Flowers represent to me a microcosm of the universe in their cycles of living and loving, families and relationships as well as their quest for survival and eventual senescence and rebirth.
With a duality of external and internal vision, I invite the viewer to see, larger than life, the beauty and intricacy of flowers and in their boldness I suggest a contemplation of their relevance and ours in the social order of our universe.
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change” – Buddha
My grandmother Maria was from Bari, Italy. As a child she would walk with me through the gardens at our home while pointing out various flowers and fruits. Our house was built on an old fruit orchard. One day she took her thumb and pushed it into the soil. In her apron pocket she pulled out a peach pit. She said it had been so delicious. She had me plant it and covered it with a clean mayonnaise jar, and so it grew.
These walks inspire me in my designs. Every time I step into my garden or see a beautiful flower, a plant or a perfect peach I think of her. I create my arrangements as if they had just been gathered in our arms from the garden.
They are composed in a manner that will not hurt the earth by using toxic design mechanics such as floral foam. Clean water and compostable armatures are my base. When ever possible I grow our flowers and use locally sourced material. I want the recipient or the viewer of my design to feel as if they are catching a glimpse of a garden and give them a sense of peace.
“Adopt the sense of nature, her secret is patience” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery is extremely pleased to announce that Mary Ahern has been named as the Gallery’s new featured artist and she will now be promoted by the gallery for the next 14 days in the gallery’s Artist Showcase.
Mary Ahern is a New York based artist whose art is as intricately entwined as the gardens surrounding her studio. Cultivating and tending those gardens are the first stage of creating the art that grows in her studio. Mary was selected as 1 of the top twelve finalists in the gallery’s recent Solo Art Exhibition Series #11. The placement in this competition qualified her art to be showcased in this feature.
Mary’s Artist Showcase feature will be promoted to over 350+ major news outlets, with inclusion on Google News & Bing News. In addition, the gallery will also be featuring and promoting her landscape art in the gallery’s various social media networks for further exposure.
Below is Mary’s Artist Statement and 5 images that were submitted to this competition.
VORACIOUSLY CONSUMING LIFE
Through the twisting paths and obstacles in life, the two constants for me have been my Art and my Garden. These are my anchors. They keep me balanced, complete, secure. The arrival of spring flings me from my studio where I’ve been creating my Art all winter, into the emerging garden surrounding my studio. The colors shout optimism to me. The joyous season has begun again. This is where I grow my subjects and gather the imagery for my work. I’ve been an Artist for eons, exploring as all true Artists do, a myriad of subjects and with enough mediums that fill drawers and cabinets throughout my studio. I’ve been zigging and zagging throughout my journey with all the bumps and joyous bursts I could grab. Some of my work through the years has had autobiographical underpinnings, some of it was icy flat. I’ve worked big and I’ve worked small. But when it comes down to it, I love color.
RIFFING ON CLASSICAL ART
I love studying Art History. I’ve been doing it steadily now for decades. My personal library still contains the first book in which I saw the work of Georgia O’Keeffe. I wept each time I opened it. I had to limit myself to 10 pages a day since I was exhausted from looking, from feeling, from studying. I remember stroking the large pages hoping to absorb something, something unknowable to me at the time. Her work somehow spoke to my soul. Though I’ve absorbed some of Georgia’s iconography, when I’m painting in traditional oils I reach backwards to techniques of the Old Masters. I enjoy the process of grisaille painting with the painstaking layers of glazes but I do it with a modern flair. Speaking of modern, I may reach backwards to compositions inspired by Raphael’s Madonna del Prato but I may do the painting using digital mediums with Siberian irises as subjects. My classical Art education in New York City was probably the last gasp of formal training before the onset of conceptual and performance art took hold. My professors were all active and renowned in their fields, Wolf Kahn, Herb Aach, Robert Birmelin and Louis Finkelstein. The foundation in color and design they taught is still the basis of all my work. I am indeed fortunate to have studied with professors who opened their SOHO studios and used the NYC art scene as an integral part of their classroom. The proximity I still have with my studio one hour’s train ride from the array of museums and galleries in NYC is rejuvenating, inspiring and jump starting. My education never ends.
HURLING MYSELF THROUGH LIFE
Once I recognized that I was an Artist, I’ve always maintained a working studio even when at times circumstances prevented great productivity. Then I would sit in there and study my books of the masters, absorbing not only their techniques but also an understanding of the enormous obstacles most of them had to traverse in order to continue forward with their work. They kept me going. I make lemonade out of lemons. To remain in the world of creativity and support my sons as a single parent, I navigated into the nascent world of computer graphics during the 1980’s. Here I sold graphics and electronic paint systems to the Television & Production industry for use in on-air graphics and advertising. My Art training was put to good use as I demonstrated the systems to my target market of creative professionals who were just converting from traditional mediums to digital. After receiving a concussion on the glass ceiling, I began my own graphic design business. Designing print media for my clients turned into repurposing their material once they recognized the value of the Internet. I built my first website in 1995, the year after the Internet became publically available. Having a low threshold for boredom has helped me shape my ongoing career in the Arts by pushing me to continually try new ideas, concepts and mediums.
AND THEN FOR A REAL CHANGE OF PACE
Exactly 20 years after I graduated with my Fine Arts degree I graduated with a degree in Ornamental Horticulture with a focus on Landscape Design. I am combining my Art and my love for gardening that was instilled in me as a child by my favorite Uncle Teddy. I am absolutely driven with these two passions. In fact, in 2000 I rebuilt my home and added two studios overlooking the gardens I’ve designed over the decades. These gardens that surround me in the quaint town of Northport on Long Island and beyond are the main inspiration for my Art. I demand excellence in my work and continuously strive to be a subject-matter-expert in my fields of study. My expertise, not only in the mediums I choose but also in the subjects of horticulture and landscape design that I represent in my close-up florals and landscape paintings of gardens is critical to me. I have a passion for life and learning. It is at the core of my being and who I am as a person and as an Artist.
Mary’s website is: https://MaryAhernArtist.com
On September 25, 2018 I received a letter congratulating me on having been accepted into the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. (NAWA). I had submitted my portfolio for review, my resume/CV, bio and Artist’s Statement. This is a juried acceptance to this prestigious organization and I am very proud to have my name on the same page as some of the amazing artists who have been affiliated with this organization over the years.
This is what is written about this organization on their website at: www.thenawa.org/nawa-history/
To create greater opportunity for professional women artists in a male-dominated art world, on January 31, 1889, five innovative women, Anita C. Ashley, Adele Frances Bedell, Elizabeth S. Cheever, Grace Fitz-Randolph and Edith Mitchill Prellwitz met to discuss the formation of a women’s art organization. In an era when women artists were associated primarily with crafts and decorative arts, the founders of NAWA envisioned an organization which would promote higher standards for women artists and provide them with the opportunity to exhibit their work.
The history of NAWA is a testament to the strength and resilience of a group of strong women who would not accept being shut out of the art salons, galleries and art exhibitions open to male artists during the 19th century. Their founding of the organization proves that, despite adversity and discrimination – which many feel extends to this day — women are an integral and valuable part of the arts community.
From the onset, the annual exhibitions of the women’s Art Club were a great success, attracting the participation of women artists such as Mary Cassatt, Suzanne Valadon, Rosa Bonheur and Cecelia Beaux. As the organization grew, its membership included prominent artists like Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Over the years the organization attracted many talented members who later achieved great recognition for their work. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney established the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City. Anna Hyatt Huntington created the sculpture museum Brookgreen Gardens/ in South Carolina.
Many members and supporters have exhibited in major museums and have taken their rightful place among the recognized artists of their time. Louise Nevelson, Malvina Hoffman, Cleo Hartwig, Minna Citron, Nell Blaine, Dorothy Dehner, Alice Neel, Marisol, Pat Adams, Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro, Janet Fish and Audrey Flack, and other contemporary talented artists joined the organization making NAWA valid force in its time.
NAWA members represent all areas of the visual arts including painting, sculpture, encaustic photography, print-making,video art, installations and mixed media. The benefits of membership are many, including a substantial Awards program, the opportunity to display artwork throughout the U.S. in our Exhibitions program, and inclusion in NAWA’s Annual Catalog.
Through NAWA’s exhibitions, educational programs, events and archive, the Association fosters awareness of the monumental contribution of women to the history of American Culture and Art.
The organization is inclusive and serves professional women visual artists of all backgrounds and traditions that are at least 18 years of age and U .S. citizens or permanent residents.
The NAWA permanent collection was established under the leadership of Liana Moonie in 1991. Housed at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the NAWA collection contains the work of artists dating from the organization’s earliest days to the present. Parts of the collection are continually on view at the museum and special exhibitions were created under the guidance of Jeffrey Wechsler.
Mary Ahern brings her award-winning style of floral and garden inspired art to the Bayard Cutting Arboretum from May 17 through June 17, 2018. Three galleries of her floral portraits will be on display at the historic Manor House at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River NY. The galleries are open on Thursdays through Sundays from 11 am until 4 pm.
Mary Ahern, known for her brilliant floral and garden paintings will be showing her latest large-scale flower portraits. As a passionate gardener who is inspired by the gardens she designed and tends surrounding her own studio, these flowers represent to her a microcosm of the universe. The large scale of these individual portraits asks questions beyond the canvas.
What is the purpose for such magnificence in nature? What is the reason for such color, such form, such diversity? What is their relationship to the communities in which they belong, their relationships with other plants and species that sustain them, invade them and nourish them. What of their lifecycle of birth, growth, senescence and rebirth? As humans, what can we learn from their seemingly simple existence?
Initially we see with our eyes. We name it, identify it and classify it. But we also have a duality of vision which allows us to contemplate with an inner vision. This art invites both the external and internal views.
Mary Ahern, a former board member of the NY ARS will present “From the Garden to the Wall”, a program which describes the process of creating Art, whether in a painting on canvas or as a garden and planting design.
As an Artist with a degree in Fine Art with a focus on Painting, one in Ornamental Horticulture with a specialty in Landscape Design and a Certificate in Botanical Illustration from the New York Botanical Gardens, Mary brings decades of experience to her field.
Mary’s paintings reflect her passion for gardens. The colors, the textures, the lighting and the pathways tell stories of personal creative visions. She is inspired by her own extensive woodland garden in Northport as well as the many public and private gardens around Long Island.
Please visit her website to see her work at: www.MaryAhernArtist.com
More importantly, come to the meeting!