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Mary Hambleton: Waiting for the Miracles

Four Figures 2006

September 8 – October 3, 2015


In-person Event



Open to the public
Free of charge

Mary Hambleton’s art is about the wonder of life with its many complexities. In her paintings and many works on paper, she embraced nature, rendering forms that could be seen as either microscopic views of the smallest things or macroscopic vistas of the heavens. She combined organic looking forms and earth colors with the regularity of geometric stripes and bold, primary color. And as an observer of everything around her, she incorporated personal experience in her work in a way that is universally understood.

This exhibition concentrates on the work of the last decade of Hambleton’s career, which ended with her death at the age of fifty-six in 2009. It includes both paintings and works on paper and represents the range of her motifs from stripes and dots to the use of printed images and body scans in both small intimate works and large all encompassing arrangements. Hambleton was primarily an abstract painter who sometimes worked on individual paintings for years, revising her colors, surfaces and textures to create wonderfully complex, layered paintings. After she was diagnosed with cancer in 2002, she began integrating images scanned from books, postcards, maps, and photographs in her art. In some of her last works, she used images of her own PET scans and pictures of extinct animals such as the dodo bird or ivory-billed woodpecker to evoke particularly poignant meditations on life and death. 

The show takes its title from one of the last paintings the artist made. It suggests her constantly hopeful, optimistic approach to life but also refers to her painting process — a long, considered search for the visual wonders that make color and marks become paintings that transcend their material bounds. 

Mary Hambleton attended the San Francisco Art Institute. She lived in New York City for most of her life and exhibited her work there and across the country. She taught at Parsons the New School for Design and Rhode Island School of Design. She was the recipient of two Pollock-Krasner grants, an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. 

Mary Hambleton: Waiting for the Miracles is curated by Tiffany Bell. She is an independent curator and writer, currently working as editor of the Agnes Martin Catalogue Raisonne and co-curator of Agnes Martin, a traveling retrospective at Tate Modern, London; going to Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Mary Hambleton: Waiting for the Miracles
Slusser Gallery
September 8 — October 3, 2015
Opening reception: 5 — 8 pm, Tuesday September 15. Featuring gallery talk with curator Tiffany Bell and artist Heather Nicol at 6 pm.

Review: Back-to-School Exhibition from the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design | Current Magazine

Image: Mary Hambleton, FOUR FIGURES, 2006
Oil, alkyd, polymer, and collage on wood, 1719 inches

Slusser Gallery is permanently closed.