The Soft & Subtle Art of Mary Little

New works on display March 19 through May 1 by appointment at Estudio Persona.


Mary Little, Whitechurch from her Moss series 2019

Mary Little, Donagadee from her Inch series 2018

Mary Little, Islandmagee -triptych from her Inch series 2018

Mary Little, Turney from her Inch series 2018

Mary Little, O’Halloran from her Ennis series 2016

Artist Mary Little. Photography by Sydney Brown

Born in Northern Ireland, Mary Little brings the lush, rolling hills and soft, rocky formations of her native homeland to her Los Angeles studio. 

Formally trained at London’s Royal College of Art in Furniture Design, Little’s work balances a designers sensibility with an artists touch. Her work is comprised of unbleached artist canvas cut, sewn and molded with a delicacy that is reminiscent of the childhood sweaters her mother used to knit in Ireland. 

These works exist outside the normal confines of minimalism with a playful, introspective, spiritual discourse. What transpires is an alluring, emotional landscape that allows light and shadows to dance across the fabric always changing as the sun rises and sets. (traverses across the sky) The subtle, soft quietness of Little’s work allows the viewer to experience a compelling and meditative personal narrative written in cloth. 


EXHIBIT

March 19 – May 1

Estudio Persona

665 N Berendo St, Los Angeles, CA 90004
[email protected]


HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START AS AN ARTIST?
I studied furniture design at undergraduate level at art school in Belfast and in London at post graduate level. I then worked in Milan in various design studios. Back in London, and with my own studio, I made one of a kind furniture; sculpture really. From exhibiting in London galleries, I was discovered by American collectors – and their interest brought me to the US. I continued to practice as a furniture designer until I moved to Los Angeles six years ago. Once here I knew I wanted a new direction, but one that kept the core of what I had been doing with my design work.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR AESTHETIC?
I create reliefs in neutral color that cause patterns in shadow and light which change slowly as the day passes. With my artwork I am still using the disciplined thinking and aesthetic as in my design, though now I've made the choice to use just one color, so that the forms dominate. My aim is that the work engages emotionally, just as it did with the furniture. It's important to me that the work has that kind of presence.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROCESS?
I make the work myself in my studio. Having practiced as an artist for 5 years, I can see my interests change incrementally, with new work building on earlier work. Whatever ideas I experimented with before I'm going deeper now, with a clearer sense of what I'm looking for. Though don't ask me to express this in words—my medium is cloth.
I develop paper patterns on a 2-D drawing program, cut the patterns out in canvas and then sew them together using a 30-year old Bernina sewing machine. It's a very slow very meditative process.

WHAT SOURCES DO YOU DRAW YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?
In essence I'm inspired by natural landscape. I have a love for the low hills, soft land formations and well-worn boulders in the Irish landscape where I was raised by my extended family of farmers. This formed my sensibility. And I'm also inspired by the simple cloth I've chosen to use; the handle of canvas, its matte finish and the ivory color of unbleached cotton.

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