These are the work of artist Mary Ann Aitken. She was a Detroit artist who later moved to Brooklyn to work as an art therapist and only recently died of cancer. A retrospective of her work is currently on view at the Urban Institute Of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids Michigan until February 16th. I enjoyed seeing this at UICA because I do not typically see work that is this image based and accessible in their galleries. None of these paintings are priced higher that $2,000 which is very reasonable considering the significance of this artist. If you are a smart collector you should be checking your bank balance right now.
Aitken until now has flown almost completely under the radar of the art world. She never expressed any interest in trying to market her work. Her emphasis was to remain in the studio to make the best art she possibly could and leave her discovery to fate. Well it would seem that the fates have finally begun to do their job for Mary Ann Aitken is well on her way to getting the respect and attention long over due her.
Make sure you take time to visit this show in person because the raw physicality of these paintings need to be experienced first hand. Also their is a very complete catalog with several reproductions and two essays that reflect on who she was as an artist and what is significant about her work that accompanies the show.
(See The Rapidian art section for my more complete article about the Mary Ann Aitken Retrospective at UICA)
photos by Tim Thayer