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For the last fifty years, Mary Obering has painted geometric abstract compositions exploring the essence of color through the lens of reductivism. 

In her early works from the 1970s, she explored color and space by creating monochrome fields of color in acrylic on canvas. She then cut the canvases into horizontal and vertical panels that she attached, one on top of the other, onto a large-scale monochrome field. This idea of layering, of creating space with minimal two-dimensional color field relationships, can be thought of in the broader context of painting in New York at the time but also through the enduring influence of Josef Albers and his investigations of shape and color.

With the rise in New York in the 1970s of multimedia, performance, and the broadening influence of conceptual art, painting seemed to be under siege. However, a group of New York painters, Obering among them, were radically returning to traditional methods of application. At this critical time in the history of painting, a shift in her technique occurred. She moved away from canvas and began to employ the old master process of egg tempera, gold leaf on gessoed panel.  Her interest in these materials first developed when she experienced Renaissance paintings as a child on a trip to Italy – a place she would return to often. Additionally, the technical aspect of painting with these materials appealed to Obering’s interest in scientific engagement, and she has subsequently employed these methods to explore scientific concepts such as particle physics and natural phenomena; a nod to her graduate studies at Harvard in the late 1950s.

Obering was born in 1937 in Shreveport, Louisiana. She received a BA in Experimental Psychology at Hollins College and her MA in Behavioral Science studying under B.F. Skinner at Harvard. In 1971, she received an MFA from the University of Denver. She has lived and worked in New York City since 1971. Obering’s works have been included in exhibitions at 1975 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Art, Boston; Artists Space, New York;  the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; The Denver Art Museum and Nelson-Atkins Museum among others. Her works are in the permanent collections of major institutions, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, The Detroit Institute of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

 

Born 1937 Shreveport, LA. Lives and works in New York, NY

EDUCATION

1971  MFA, University of Denver, Denver, CO

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2018                         
Mary Obering, Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles, CA 

2017                         
Mary Obering: Selected Works 1983-1987, Marisa Newman Projects, New York, NY

2012                         
Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York, NY

2007                        
Ninni Esposito Arte Conteporanea, Bari, Italy

2006                        
Studio G7, Bologna, Italy

2004                        
Gallery 668, Greenwich, New York
Mayo Center for Humanities in Medicine, Scottsdale, AZ                                   
Recent Paintings: Mary Obering, Rule Modern and Contemporary Art, Denver, CO

2001                         
Gallery 668, Greenwich, New York
Ninni Esposito Arte Contemporanea, Bari, Italy

2000                        
The Marfa Hotel, Marfa, TX

1999                        
Robin Rule Modern and Contemporary Art, Denver, CO

1997                         
Hugo Minnen Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium

1996                        
Primo Piano, Rome, Italy
Robin Rule Modern and Contemporary Art, Denver, CO

1995                         
Littlejohn/Sternau Gallery, New York, NY

1994                         
Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 
Galerie Hugo Minnen, Antwerp, Belgium

1993                         
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1992                         
Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1991                         
Plus-Kern Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1990                        
Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1989                         
Plus-Kern Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Annina Nosei Gallery, New York, NY
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1988                         
Annina Nosei Gallery, New York, NY
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY
Museo de Arte Costarricense, San Jose, Costa Rica

1987                         
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1986                         
Julian Pretto Gallery, San Jose, Costa Rica

1983                         
Julian Pretto Gallery, San Jose, Costa Rica

1981                          
Ben Shahn Museum, Wayne, NJ

1980                         
Interart Gallery, New York, NY

1975                         
Soho Center for the Visual Arts, New York, NY

1973                         
Artists Space, New York, NY

1971                          
Great Western United Galleries, Denver, CO
University of Denver Galleries, Denver, CO

GROUP EXHBITIONS

2019
Tempera, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR 

2018
Heads Roll, Graves Gallery, Sheffield, UK

2017                         
Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, NY
c.nichols Project, Los Angeles, CA

2008                        
The Painting Center, New York, NY
O.K. Harris, New York, NY

2007                        
Paula Barr Chelsea, New York, NY

2006                        
Galleria Alfonso Artiaco, Naples, Italy

2005                        
Gallery 668, Greenwich, New York, NY
CDS Gallery, New York, NY

2003                        
Rule Modern and Contemporary Art, Denver, CO

2002                        
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver, CO
Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN

2001                         
Hunter College Art Gallery, New York, NY

2000                        
Galerie Frank, Paris, France

1999                        
Exit Art, New York, NY

1998                         
White Creek Gallery, Salem, New York

1997                         
Robin Rule Modern and Contemporary Art, Denver, CO

1996                        
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
James Howe Fine Arts Gallery, Kean College, Union, NJ
Littlejohn Contemporary, New York, NY

1995                         
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
CDS Gallery, New York, NY
Littlejohn Contemporary, New York, NY

1994                         
Littlejohn/Sternau Gallery, New York, NY
Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
Association Culturale Hyphos, Lecce, Italy
Noyes Museum, Oceanville, NJ
Vero Beach Museum, Vero Beach, FL

1993                         
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
Plus-Kern Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Natkin-Berta Gallery, Paris, France

1992                         
American Abstract Artists, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS
Plus-Kern Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1991                         
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1990                        
Bayley Museum, Charlottesville, VA
Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY|
New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS
Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
War Resisters League Benefit Exhibition, New York, NY
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1989                         
Ben Shahn Museum, Wayne, NJ
C.D.S. Gallery, New York, NY
American Abstract Artists Association, 55 Mercer Street Gallery, New York, NY
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1988                         
Annina Nosei Gallery, New York, NY
Genovese Gallery, Boston, MA
Anne Plumb Gallery, New York, NY
Ruth Seigel Gallery, New York, NY

1987                         
John Weber Gallery, New York, NY
Condesco/Lawler Gallery, New York, NY
City Gallery, (Department of Cultural Affairs), New York, NY

1986                         
American Abstract Artists Association, New York, NY
War Resisters League at 101 Spring Street Gallery, New York, NY

1985                         
Louis Meisel Gallery, New York, NY
Galeria de Arte Contemporaneo, San Jose, Costa Rica

1984                         
C.D.S. Gallery, New York, NY
Gloria Luria Gallery, Bar Harbor Island, FL

1983                         
Christminster Gallery, New York, NY
A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY

1982                         
Steven Cardin Gallery, New York, NY
A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY
C.D.S. Gallery, New York, NY

1981                          
Julian Pretto Gallery, Weehauken, NJ

1980                         
Sebastian Moore Gallery, Denver, CO

1979                         
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY

1978                         
$100 Gallery, New York, NY
Julian Pretto Gallery, New York, NY
Creative Artists Public Service Program, New York, NY

1976                         
Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York, NY

1975                         
Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT 

1974                         
Civic Center Museum, Philadelphia, PA

1973                         
Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT

1972                         
John Weber Gallery, New York, NY

1971                          
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

1970                         
University of Denver, Denver, CO

1969                        
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO

1968                         
Denver Jewish Community Center Gallery, Denver, CO
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
The Hecksher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY