Mary Little...New York • Chicago • Denver

Over the last year my community has grown leaps and bounds beyond the local. Thanks Instagram! I love inviting people to my studio to see the work in person, but of course, that’s not possible for everyone. 

So for those very keen to see but living outside of LA, here are three places where you can spot my work across the country. 

  Kennedy , edition of 25, 36” x 36” Installed in an exquisite new building 196 Orchard in lower Manhattan by designer Alex P. White.

Kennedy, edition of 25, 36” x 36”
Installed in an exquisite new building 196 Orchard in lower Manhattan by designer Alex P. White.

  Orlock , edition of 100, 36” x 36”  One of two pieces, made exclusively for Baker Furniture in Chicago.

Orlock, edition of 100, 36” x 36”
One of two pieces, made exclusively for Baker Furniture in Chicago.

  Marley , unique piece, 71” x 25.5” x 2.5” framed dimensions Installed in Homebody in Denver, Colorado.

Marley, unique piece, 71” x 25.5” x 2.5” framed dimensions
Installed in Homebody in Denver, Colorado.

Tell Me What You See

In Los Angeles I live an urban life on the outer edge of downtown L.A. where it's warm and dry and, even though we're in the first days of November, my windows are wide open. There is a lot of activity on the street that I can hear as I write this from my 3rd story loft.

To retreat I return to the low hills and the tiny islands of Ireland worn into appealing gentle forms over millennia of exposure to rain and ice. With the Inch series I've created an interior environment that brings these soft forms with their gentle presence to my mind and heart. 

 Donagadee, 60h x 40w ins.

Donagadee, 60h x 40w ins.

 Islandmagee Triptych, 40h x 110w ins.

Islandmagee Triptych, 40h x 110w ins.

To one collector Donagadee - above, brought to mind a pregnant female form. To another, the Islandmagee tryptic in the series is so surreal that she believes aliens are ready to crack out of those eggs. Whereas, to me, they bring to mind burial mounds.

Ripeness, pregnancy and anticipation seem to be present in many visitors’ minds when they’re in the presence of this work. What do you see when you look at them? 

 Healey, 75h x 50w ins.

Healey, 75h x 50w ins.

Big! Going Big!

Back in 2015, Angus was the first wall piece I created. It was the catalyst for shifting my focus away from sculptural furniture to the work you are now familiar with. Since then, I’ve created three other large-scale installations. First, there was Strangford, made for an exhibition at Google L.A.’s campus taking advantage of a 20’ high wall. Emboldened by the size, I created Inishowen, a work that would command attention for the San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques show. Inishowen is an environment large enough to sit inside to read, relax or for contemplation. Most recently, I created a smaller installation, Neagh, for my solo exhibition at Craft in America, which hopefully you had the opportunity to see before it closed back in June!
 
These pieces would create a place of peaceful serenity in which ever space they were installed.

 Angus, 120" x 120”

Angus, 120" x 120”

 Inishowen, 144" x 92" diameter

Inishowen, 144" x 92" diameter

 Strangford triptych, 120" x 120"

Strangford triptych, 120" x 120"

Pattern within Pattern

The title says it all…as you can see Marian and Betty both contain multiple patterns within one work. With these canvases I was inspired by the complex patterns found in Aran sweaters that my mother Betty knit all through my childhood. It’s the relief that appeals and the relationship between the repeating motifs in different scales, that fascinate me. Marian and Betty are from my Aran Series and are the result of my reflections on pattern and relationships.

 Marian, 64" x 60" [Aran Series]

Marian, 64" x 60" [Aran Series]

 Betty, 64" x 68" [Aran Series]

Betty, 64" x 68" [Aran Series]

Boundaries in Art

Over the summer, when it typically goes quiet, I plan to focus on completing a new series. As part of the process I like to review ideas I’ve already created. In both these works below I’ve explored boundaries. 



O’Halloran has a smooth neutral interior - a space of rest bounded by rolling edges. Whereas Marley’s flat border frames its central undulating ridges. As an artist, it’s important to consider how a viewer might “read” my work and how their eyes might slowly explore the central core and its borders.

 O’Halloran, 60” x 24”   [Ennis Series]

O’Halloran, 60” x 24” [Ennis Series]

 Marley 62” x 42”  [Drumlin Series]

Marley 62” x 42” [Drumlin Series]

The Long and the Short of it

A square format is my favorite. It has a tranquil proportion.  Though a proportion with a little dramatic is sometimes called for. 

With Johnson and MacEoin I imagined what it might be like to run my fingers, instead of my eyes, over the surface – to think of the tactile instead of visual. Would it be like running my fingers over piano keys or a xylophone?

 Johnston, 27" x 110"  [Drumlins Series]

Johnston, 27" x 110" [Drumlins Series]

 MacEoin, 63" x 19" Available at Hammer & Spear

MacEoin, 63" x 19"
Available at Hammer & Spear

There’s Scale Then There’s Scale

There’s a calmness and beauty to be found in repetition. While not truly understanding how she did it, I have admired Agnes Martin’s ability to make strong works with small changes of scale, density, proportion - working within a narrow vocabulary. When I was a younger artist “you don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every project” was a common refrain from creative friends who watched the struggles I put myself through. Now I am beginning to understand how calm and beauty can be drawn out while still working within a tight framework.

  Munn , 60” x 60”  [Ennis Series]

Munn, 60” x 60” [Ennis Series]

  Flanagan , 60" x 60"  [Ennis Series]

Flanagan, 60" x 60" [Ennis Series]

  Sian Morgan,  60” x 60”  [Ennis Series]

Sian Morgan, 60” x 60” [Ennis Series]

Square. Both Square.

I’ve created over 25 square works in the last 3 years. 

  Anne Jane , 60" x 60"  [Aran Series]

Anne Jane, 60" x 60" [Aran Series]

  Henderson , 42" x 42",  [Valley Edition, Edition of 25]

Henderson, 42" x 42", [Valley Edition, Edition of 25]

My excitement comes from finding a new character in each.

Anne Jane and Henderson come out of distinctly different approaches - the former is loose and expansive, doing its own thing using cloth in abundance. And the latter is stretched taut with highly controlled mark making. One is 60” square and the other 42”. Anne Jane references clothing, while Henderson is inspired by ploughed fields. Their common characteristics are: square, off-white color, and areas of texture, contrasted by large flat surface. Polar opposites yet with so much in common.

Similar Yet So Different

Back in November 2017 a journalist made a visit to my downtown studio. In advance, I sent him a link to my website and an invitation to view the catalogues in the private Resources section. When he arrived he slowly walked around taking in the work, then asked: may I give you some advice? I LOVE advice, so of course I said, “yes!”. He said that he’d started seeing my work in homes in Beverly Hills and Bel Air, and heard my name pop up when in the company of designers and collectors. But the general feeling was, WHO is Mary Little? Who represents her? Does she take commissions…?

His advice: “You have to up your game!”.

So, based on this I’ve developed a pretty bold strategy for 2018, to be more visible and accessible in Los Angeles and the west coast. While I work on this - it takes planning and collaborations – I continue to invite designers like you on studio visits. Everyone says the work comes alive in reality. Would you like to come to see what I have hanging now, and see work in progress? You could come alone, or with a colleague or client. I have parking and we could even do lunch or afternoon tea…

Would you like to check your schedule and see if you could take a break on Wednesday, 1/31 or Thursday, 2/1. I’ll be working here at the studio both days, and we usually have a delicious homemade soup around noon.

In the meantime, enjoy these three artworks which though similar, are in their individual ways distinctly different.

  O'Conner , 44” x 44”  [Ennis Series]

O'Conner, 44” x 44” [Ennis Series]

  Bush,  54” x 34”  [Ennis Series]

Bush, 54” x 34” [Ennis Series]

  Dunleath,  24” x 24”  [Ennis Edition, Edition of 25]

Dunleath, 24” x 24” [Ennis Edition, Edition of 25]