Since the 1970’s I’ve been a collector, an observer and a thinker about round things. Currently, my garden is enhanced by round thing presences. Spheres of all colors and sizes. Sculpture with round themes. Round trellises. Round gateways.
This moon gate entry to my woodland walkways is just one of the pieces throughout my garden which inspires my art. These themes of roundness have threaded throughout my work for decades.
On my deck are round finials on the tops of the banisters. And large round concrete containers spewing forth their colorful floral additions all summer.
I have reflective spheres so as you walk around the circular pathways in my garden you see yourself in a distorted and accentuated way. It’s good to see yourself when you least expect it. Then your mind views you more clearly. It sees how others may see you.
Why round things you ask? They are the feminine. The woman. The beginning. The Eve.
They are the mystery. No beginning and no end. The continuum.
Eve’s apple is the first sphere. It represents to me the essence of woman, the feeding, the nurturing, the sexuality, the sensuousness, the rounded birth belly.
With the apple Eve burst forth from the confinement of the “Garden of Eden”. The place made for her. To protect her but also to isolate her from life. The experiences. The experimentation. The adventure.
She broke free by pushing the boundaries. By saying that the world created for her was not enough. She found her way to burst forth and experience life. The sadness, the pain, the anguish, the tears, the disappointments, dashed dreams, hopes denied, the loss of loved ones, the curse of immortality.
Without which true happiness, peace and contentment could not be embraced.
My art is embedded with these meditations on life.
The OMNI Gallery show featured my round flower inspired oil paintings. This work is embedded with meditations.
As a person involved in creating art for the past many years, the opportunities and revelations keep coming.
Mary Ahern – Outdoor Art Show with the Floral Park Art League 1975
The art world has changed but so have I. I’m more self-assured about my work than I was at the beginning. Through a lifetime of hard work, bumps, skids, rashes, pain, zigs and zags I’ve developed the thick skin needed to have confidence in my skills as an artist and as a person running a small business selling and showing my art.
We all know the tremendous changes that the internet and social media have introduced into the careers of artists. We are now independent enough to take our careers into our own hands rather than rely on galleries as the only outlet to selling or placing our work. I’m sure that for some artists, galleries are the central force in placing their work in prestigious collections and museums. For most of us though, galleries are not the only answer any longer.
Gallery representation isn’t for everyone
One of the obstacles for me is that I have 3 distinct bodies of work in which I like to create & promote. One is digital, one is in traditional mediums and the third is a combination of both. Even though they all focus on the same subject matter, flower and gardens, they all have very distinctive looks. I love the freedom that being independent affords me so I can create in whichever medium I choose.
As a lifetime entrepreneur the thought of having a gallery owner tell me what they want and when they want it is abhorrent to me. There is a benefit to being a working artist for many, many decades. I have the emotional and financial security to remain an independent artist. Having spent my former career in sales and marketing and also having had my own graphic design business for decades, I have the skills that many artists don’t possess.
I’m committed to creating my own art styles, exploring new mediums, enjoying the process of experimentation. But I’m just as committed to running my art business. Because of the tools now available through technology, the internet and social media I can do that myself at an affordable price. It’s a game-changer.
Recently I was asked what advice would I would give to my 21-year-old self on how to get started and keep motivated?
I can’t speak to my 21-year-old self since I was married and the mother of a baby boy by then. I didn’t put myself through college until my youngest went to nursery school. By the time I graduated from art school I was a 32-year-old single parent. A career was foremost on my mind in order to support my sons but I knew that I needed to focus on the arts in some way to follow my calling. By creative thinking & sheer guts, I got myself into the nascent computer graphics industry in the early 1980’s as a salesperson who had to use and demonstrate graphic devices and electronic paint systems. This gave me a toe-hold into the conversation of creative arts.
Critical as well was that I always maintained a working studio in my home, even sitting in it & studying art history books when I was too stressed to pick up a brush. Because I kept my focus on the artist part of me more than the technologist part of me I was able to transition into creating my own art more often as my sons grew up and life became easier. Maintaining this tangential association with the creative arts was the reason I’ve been able to now focus 100% of my effort into my artwork.
Keeping motivated isn’t difficult when you’ve burned with the desire to create your whole life. What does help however is having artist friends and mentors who understand the struggles to carve out the time to express yourself in an ever-busy world. Accountability partners help me to keep the balance needed to make room for the creation of art and the running of an art business. Either one of those activities is all-consuming but without one you don’t need the other.
Mary Ahern giving an Artist Talk at The Firefly Artists Gallery in December 2019.
Recently I had the honor to present my art and the meaning behind my thought process at Slide Slam. This event was sponsored by the Patchogue Arts Council and hosted by the Haven Gallery in Northport NY.
The presentation by the 20 selected Long Island artists was to display a slideshow of 15 images and speak for exactly 5 minutes each about the work. Such a daunting task proved to be an interesting challenge. How do you get to the essence of your work succinctly in such a short span of time?
Important for me was to convey how critical the garden is to my work. It is in fact the beginning of my creative workflow. In the garden I feel the power of the interconnectedness of all that surrounds me; the necessary ecological balance of the earth, climate, water and nutrients, that sustain the cycle of life.
The communities of birds, bees, insects and yes, humans to pollinate flowers with the assistance of the wind of course. This cooperation is the main critical component of maintaining not just my garden but our entire life here on earth as we know it. Without fertilization the cycle of life would die for all living things, not just for the loss of our beautiful garden flowers but for all our food sources as well.
To me, the garden is just a microcosm of the universe.
The vast beauty of color, fragrance and the architecture of each plant is created to seduce assistance in procreation. Each flower has evolved its own method for attracting exactly the pollinator they desire. Long tubes for hummingbirds, open centers for nice fat bumble bees. Certain colors are more visible to different insects than others. Fragrance signals an invitation to specific species that the time is right for fertilization. The Brugmansia is most fragrant in the late afternoon since it would rather have an energetic pollinator just arriving on their evening shift than a tired one at the end of it’s working day.
Working in and studying my own garden for the last 30 years has given me the unique opportunity to watch dynamic change occur. When my oak trees fell in Hurricane Sandy suddenly the types of plants that enjoyed their shade began to suffer from too much sun. I dug them up and moved them and their scorched leaves to where they would be more comfortable and replaced them with flowers that thrive in the drenching sun. Over time this would have happened naturally but I was able to speed up the process.
Each day in my garden I’m inspired by the energy of life. I carry this with me right into my studio where I allow that energy to inform my art.
315 West 39th St. Suite 508
New York, NY 10018
November 8 – December 4, 2018
On November 15, 2018 I was proud to be inducted into the National Association of Woment Artists, NAWA. I had submitted my portfolio, resume/CV, bio & artist’s statement for jurying into this historical organization that was founded in 1889 with a mission to create a greater opportunity for professional women artists in a male-dominated art world. Sadly, this situation still exists to this day. We are still in need of a gathering of strong and resiliant women to promote and support each other and ourselves.
The induction ceremony was held at the Rubin Museum on 17th St. in Manhattan New York City. Attending artists spoke about their work with passion.
Mary Ahern speaking about her art at the Rubin Museum Induction Ceremony of the National Associaton of Women Artists, NAWA.
Later that same day the Opening Reception of the New Members Show was held at the gallery of the NAWA on 39th St in NYC. The rooms were crowded with artists and guests. The artists had the opportunity to explain the ideas and inspiration behind their work on display.
Mary Ahern speaking at the opening reception for the New Members Show at the NAWA gallery in NYC. Mary Ahern is speaking about her work on display behind her, “Candy Wind Hibiscus”, a 20×20″ GW, Oil on canvas. $1,950.
Selecting art to buy online can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. In my Art Shop I’ve added a few features to help you take the guesswork out of what art and what size will work in your space and what will not. It’s called Live Preview AR (for Augmented Reality.)
Using your own mobile device you can select a print from any of my collections of landscapes, floral portraits, still lifes and designer prints and view it through your on-board camera projected onto your wall space. You can resize the image of the print until you find that perfect sweet spot that will work for you in your own particular setting.
You can easily select different prints to view. Will a landscape style work or perhaps a square print? Choose prints to view either by clicking directly on their image in the category library or just press the left or right arrow to view the next in line. All the available sizes for each print are quickly and easily seen by you in the pull down menu right at your fingertips.
To exit Augmented Reality is easy and brings you right to the ordering page. You have an array of options in which to choose. What surface do you want for your print? Canvas, fine art paper, aluminum or acrylic? Once you decide the size and treatment you might consider a frame or matting depending on your choice of materials.
Now that your selection is made just click to see your shopping cart and the rest is a breeze. The hardest part will be anticipating the arrival of your very own piece of Art, custom chosen by you for your own special place. Enjoy!
A July summer event, featuring music, dance, poetry and over 30 artists displaying and selling their original work. Art show begins at 10am and festivities begin at 12pm. Free admission and a fun day for the entire family. Hours are 10am to 5pm.
Join us for another exciting event in the picturesque Village of Northport, NY. This multi-disciplinary annual event is held in the Village Park at the foot of main street surrounded by the lush tableau of water, boats, trees, playgrounds and the old time Village feel of another, calmer and genteel era.
My studio was overflowing as I created new work for my show at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Mary Ahern brought 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 were on display at the historic Manor House at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River NY.
Mary Ahern, known for her brilliant floral and garden paintings was 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.
I finally bit the bullet and bought a new car to replace my 1996 Nissan Pathfinder with 200,010 miles on it. I called her my gardening car since I could pack so many plants in her. She also carried my Art to many, many Art Festivals over the years. By giving her up I felt almost the same sense of mourning as I did when I lost 4 trees in my woodland garden to Hurricane Sandy. This car had carried my Art and me safely throughout six states worth of Art Festivals
1996 Nissan Pathfinder pulling my trailer filled with Art to one of many Art Festivals
But it was time. The rust, the rattles, the pervading sense of being stranded somewhere if the trusty ‘ole car decided to bite the bullet. It was very hard to find the right replacement vehicle. I took tape measuring to all the dealerships in search of the perfect match. To my dismay I discovered that all the SUV’s have been pumped up on steroids since I was last in the market. Too many rows of seats and driving around in a McMansion didn’t hold appeal for me.
After much searching I finally choose a RAV4 by Toyota. It fit the dimensions of my large paintings but wasn’t too over sized for day to day driving. So I’ve downsized slightly in order to have a fully flat surface for transporting plants & Art. The back seat is a bench style while most of the larger ones have bucket style seats.
Oh, and I was able to get it in green. Not a color offered very frequently anymore. One of the things that was a big pleasant surprise since I hadn’t had a new car in decades, was all the new technology built into cars nowadays. The new toys helped with the sorrowful transition I felt on abandoning my old friend.
My RAV4 holding an entire Art Exhibition of 32 Paintings.
Here is a video which I originally created in July of 2013 of how I prepare prints for display and sale at outdoor art festivals .
I took these video clips in my studio as I prepared for the Northport Art in the Park hosted by the Northport Arts Coalition.
I used a Canon Power Shot SD3500 IS Digital ELPH, holding it in one hand and demonstrating with the other. I used the audio from the camera which is muffled at times since I put my finger over the microphone. I originally started with 18 minutes of video clips and brought it down to about 4:15.
I edited in iMovie with the end credits created in Photoshop.
Fun little project which I wish I’d given myself more time to perfect but there are always choices to be made. Time being the one thing I can’t seem to stretch.
I happily took the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station to then walk to Chelsea in NYC from my perch in Northport Long Island. This venture, on a cold winter day, was to gather in the brilliant colors and environments of the watercolor paintings created by the Artist, Joseph Raffael. These large-scale works envelop you into the tropical gardens and seaside shells which are the models and subjects of his work.
Some feature strongly defined focal points while other subjects are diffused, allowing you to meander through the tangles of flowers, leaves and stems. Koi provide the pivotal “Turning Point” between the water and air while leaving ripples which you know will be gone again in moments. Tibetan prayer flags flutter in the breeze sharing the brilliance of Koi colors. Time, movement and transience are significant subjects in these meditative paintings.
“THE WORK OF FOUR EXTRAORDINARY ARTISTS EACH ONE FOCUSING ON THE UNIQUE AND VARIED WAYS THAT COLOR LIVES IN OUR LIVES”
– William Grabowski – Curator
March 26 – June 17, 2013 Art-trium Gallery. 25 Melville Park Rd, Melville NY 11747
Friday, April 5, 2013. 5:30 – 7:00 pm With music performance by Sally Shorrock and Friends
This Show is Sponsored by the Huntington Arts Council
SOME OF THE MIXED MEDIA PAINTINGS ON VIEW by the Artist, Mary Ahern
“Light Blue Iris in the Garden”
I grew these delightful light blue Iris germanica in my garden one year but they sadly haven’t come back with such beauty since. Iris borers and not enough sun perhaps. I solve this ephemeral behavior by painting the flowers from my garden. No pesticides, no fungicides, no weeding, no deadheading. They are in perfect condition all year round.
“Lilies in the Garden”
As a gardener and an Artist I’ve been able to combine both of these passions.Though my garden has been featured on various Garden Tours, I guarantee that it doesn’t look as good as the fantasy garden in this painting.
“Siberian Iris Trio”
A small patch of these Siberian Irises were in the garden when I bought my home in 1989. They are short lived during the season but very long lived over the years.
“Daylilies and Rudbeckia”
I paired this combination of flowers on my canvas for the their jovial and robust colors. Noticing their form, color and bloom time I transplanted them to create a seasonal vignette in my late summer garden as well.
“Conversation Piece Azalea”
These multi-colored flowers all bloom on the same shrub in my garden collection. Another nice thing about this cultivar is that it blooms a bit later than other Azaleas, thereby extended the colorful season.
MY ART BLOG
I wrote an article on my Art Blog recently describing how subconsciously I was influenced by the famous Matisse painting, “The Dance.”
Studying Art History for decades seeps into your creative mind and emerges in ways that you don’t expect. Though I majored in Art in college, it’s the years of continuing pursuit that really make the subtle and not so subtle differences in an Artist’s work.
MY ARTIST STATEMENT
My Art is driven by the pursuit of multiple passions. In my garden I grow the delicate & ephemeral models which are the subjects of my paintings. I transform them through a complex series of digital technologies and traditional mediums.
I have a degree in horticulture, a degree in Fine Arts and my entire career has been spent in Digital Imaging technologies. These are the tools I use to create my Art.
Creating and reinventing my gardens larger than life size demonstrates the profound importance they play in my own personal centering.
Daylilies and Rudbeckia, a Mixed Media painting by the Artist, Mary Ahern.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mary Ahern Invited To Exhibit Her Art by the Huntington Arts Council
Northport, NY. – February 24, 2013
Mary Ahern, the Northport Garden Artist, has been invited by the Huntington Arts Council to display her Mixed Media paintings in the show titled, “Living Color”. These bold & bright, large-scale paintings are interpretations of the gardens she tends surrounding her studio on Long Island.
Mary Ahern, who has shown her work and been collected extensively on Long Island and many surrounding States, is pleased to have been invited by the Huntington Arts Council to participate in the “Living Color” show. Ahern states, “The title of this show perfectly describes my own large colorful floral portraits. It is a perfect fit.”
The Huntington Arts Council show will be held in the Art-trium in Melville, Long Island, NY. This spacious setting is ideal for Ahern’s large-scale powerful statements.
The show will be held at the Art-rium Gallery at 25 Melville Park Rd., Melville NY. Her Fine Art will be on view from March 26 – June 17, 2013.
Meet the Artist at the opening reception, which will be held on Friday, April 5, 2013 from 5:30-7pm.
The 57th Annual Art League of LI Member’s Exhibition is
November 11 through November 25, 2012
11-4pm each day
The Art League is located at 107 East Deer Park Rd. in Dix Hills NY 11746
Tom Stacey is the Coordinator of the show and can be reached at 631-462-5400
The ALLI website is www.artileagueli.org
The piece that I’ve submitted for the show is “Passion Flowers with Bamboo”.
“Passion Flowers with Bamboo” a Mixed Media Painting by the Artist, Mary Ahern
This painting is a Mixed Media piece created using digital and acrylic painting. The finished work is a 20×24″ gallery wrapped canvas with a 1/5″ depth. The purchase price is $549.
The original models for this work were some Passifloracaerulea commonly known as Blue Passion Flower. I grew them in my deck planters where they entwined themselves on a craftsman style trellis on the sunny outside wall of my home.
The bamboo is also from my garden and is Fargesia robusta ‘Green Screen’. It is a clump forming bamboo and is said to reach a height of 12-15 ‘ but it hasn’t done so in my garden so far. I have it planted on a berm just behind a Japanese maple. For a further description of this Fargesia check out www.bamboogarden.com.
Rose Montage has 5 individual digital paintings of Roses. Framed size is 8 x 39.5″
This is the month for the annual silent art auction fundraiser in support of the Huntington Arts Council’s exhibition program at the Main Street Petite Gallery and Art-trium Gallery in Melville.
November 9 – November 30, 2012
Huntington Arts Council Petite Gallery
213 Main St.
Huntington NY 11743
Contact: Florence Dallari, Asst. Dir. 631-271-8423
Huntington Arts Council Website: http://www.huntingtonarts.org
This year I’ve donated my White Rose Montage to this worthy fund-raiser.
I designed this long 8″ x 39″ montage for all the folks who tell me they can’t buy my work since they don’t have anymore wall space. This piece fits nicely between windows or as an accent piece at the edge of a wall. It has 5 individual digital paintings of roses for all those rosarian collectors out there.
The holidays are coming and you can do two nice things for the price of one. Bid on this piece to help support the Huntington Arts Council and then give it as a gift to one of your special friends.
Curating an Art Show takes many steps and stages. The process begins with the organization sponsoring the event. They are responsible for setting the dates and timetables of the show, the selection of Artists and in this case, establishing and maintaining a cooperative working relationship with the owners of the hosting venue.
The organization that is sponsoring the Art Show decides if they are hosting a One-Person Art Show or a Group Exhibit and where the venue will be held. This information is included in their prospectus.
For the Art Show I’m having from August 28 through October 9th, 2012, I downloaded the prospectus from the Northport Arts Coalition (aka NAC) website here. Most organizations now offer their applications & information online.
In this case, I applied for a One-Person Show to be held over a 6-7 week period at the Wine Cellar on Main in downtown Northport NY. I was notified of my acceptance and given about a one-month lead time to prepare for the showing.
Normally the lead time for an opportunity for a large show like this is quite a bit longer but I was pleased with the opportunity to show my work so I quickly accepted their offer.
A view of my studio while staging for the Art Show
Depending on the organization the curating of the actual show is done either by a designated person within that group or the individual Artists whom they’ve selected for a show.
I usually have various paintings of mine in multiple group shows over a wide variety of time slots & locations so I keep comprehensive records of where my Art Work is allocated at any given time & where the work is scheduled to be shown.
I also know what work is in the process of being created & when the work will be available for the next showing.
Curating is many things. These include finding the venues, selecting the Artists, designing the show itself and creating and executing the marketing campaign.