MaryKate Maher

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What is my work about?

My work is influenced by the landscape: balancing rocks, cairns, industrial detritus; elements left behind by man or uniquely formed by nature. I cast and hand-build objects that resemble these natural forms, creating rocks out of layered resins and architectural forms from corrugated refuse. These individual objects are then reconfigured into larger sculptures, finding their way into quasi-formal relationships that address balance, uneven weight and questionable permanence.

Artist Statement

In my practice, I begin by researching and mining the textures of nature and the post-industrial landscape. Starting from this place, I fabricate objects that resemble smooth river-rocks, sections of concrete, chunks of marble and knotted wood burls: a heterogeneous mixture of man-made and naturally occurring debris. These fabricated objects become foundational units in my sculptural process. I look for ways that these forms might relate to each other. I work towards arrangements that are “coercive” in some sense, symbiotic but not agreeably so. One element supports another in a tentative foundation.


This work comes out of my interest in cairns, balancing rocks, site-markers and totems. Evoking a sense of intervention, these structures have the quality of “the temporary fix.” Such artifacts exhibit a care in the craftsmanship, which is delicate but not precious: a monolith is shimmed from beneath to help straighten it out. The stacking of cairns is rather aesthetic for something meant to be practical, many small movements that when combined make up a larger, spatially impressive structure.


I use industrial materials to mimic organic forms: a carved salt-lick takes on the qualities of sculpted marble, a discarded Styrofoam chunk is actually cast from high-grade statuary resin. I use balance and hidden supports to give the impression that objects defy the limits of weight & gravity. They cling and lean on each other for mutual support. Many of my sculptures and works on paper contain inlaid c-prints of diffused voids, broken surfaces and out-of-­focus halos. These elements become moments of visual vibration, resisting the definition of foreground and background, animating and obscuring the surface on which they are placed.
The works become formalized as I reconfigure individually crafted objects until they become a larger, cohesive sculpture. Approached like drawing in the round, I build and erase until the form feels correct. The individual objects have no loyalty to each other. This creates an interesting tension between concept and formality. Pedestals are not necessary, objects exist on the floor as if put aside for later use. Some works interact with the wall. There is an intimacy in this, the viewer is a party to the negotiation of forms.


2008 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME
2004 Master of Fine Arts The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
2001 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Arcadia University, Glenside, PA
1999 The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, UK


99cent plus, Magic Object, curated by Rico Gatson, Brooklyn, NY
Ground Floor Gallery, Hello Again, Bushwick! Brooklyn, NY
TSA Gallery, Night Flight, curated by Jackie Hoving and Norm Paris, Brooklyn, NY
The Buggy Factory, Passing, Left, curated by Enrico Gomez and The Dorado Project, Brooklyn, NY
SPRING/BREAK Art Show, In Between Meanings, curated by Rachel Phillips, New York, NY

Nurture Art, Braced Position, Brooklyn, NY (solo)
Daylight Savings, Parallel Grounds: Work by MaryKate Maher and Willie Wayne Smith, Broolyn, NY, The Communal Table, curated by Bjoern Meyer-Ebrecht, feature issue 115
The Parlour Bushwick, Show #9, Brooklyn, NY

Real Art Ways, Auspicious Positions, Hartford, CT (solo)
Interstate Projects, In Free Fall, curated by Rachel Steinberg, Brooklyn, NY
The Wassaic Project, Homeward Found, Wassaic, NY

Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill Project V, Peekskill, NY
BRIC Rotunda Gallery, 8 Artists Making Sculpture, curated by Jamie Sterns, BRIC Arts| Media | Bklyn, Brooklyn, NY
AIRPLANE, Grounded, curated by Rico Gatson, Brooklyn, NY
The Onderdonk House, Sculpture Garden, curated by Lesley Heller and Deborah Brown, Queens, NY
BRIC Rotunda Gallery, The Bricoleurs, curated by Christian Fuller and Risa Shoup, Brooklyn, NY
Hinge Gallery, Group Exhibition of Gallery Artists, Chicago, IL

Like the Spice, Layer Current, Brooklyn, NY
Studio 10, Copia Cartacea, curated by Paul D’Agostino, Brooklyn, NY
Kunstwerk Carlshutte, NordArt 2011, Budelsdorf, Germany
Das Gift, A4, curated by Una Tittel, Berlin, Germany
Centotto, Landscapes Metamorphic, Topologies Chrometoplastic, Brooklyn, NY
STOREFRONT, New Year New Work New Faces, Brooklyn, NY

Abrons Art Center, The West at Sunset, curated by Adrian Saldana, New York, NY
Socrates Sculpture Park, EAF 10 : Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition, Queens NY
Nurture Art, Duck and Decorated Shed, Brooklyn, NY
Centotto, Spazi Segreti, or Mendacity, Mood, Brooklyn, NY
Factory Fresh, Among Darkened Woods, Brooklyn, NY
Grace Exhibition Space, Artsync, Brooklyn NY

Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers University, Exquisite Corpse, Newark NJ
Union Gallery, Inaugural Exhibition, New York, NY
Silvershed, ABCyz, New York, NY
C.R.E.A.M. projects, Whitney’s Bi-ennial, Brooklyn NY
Abrons Art Center, Twin Infinities, New York, NY

Dam, Stuhltrager Gallery, Au Courant, Brooklyn, NY
Takt kunstprojektraum, Die Ansammlung, Berlin, Germany

Dam, Stuhltrager Gallery, White Noise, curated by Devrim Kadirbeyoglu, Brooklyn, NY
Vox Populi, Voxxoxo, Philadelphia, PA
D.u.m.b.o. Arts Center, Coercive Atmospherics, curated by David Hunt, Brooklyn NY

Easthampton Cultural Council, Window’s Project 2006, Easthampton, MA
Kouros Gallery, Wrote for Luck, New York, NY

Broadway Gallery, By Proxy, New York, NY

Slought Foundation, Back to the Front, Philadelphia, PA
Kelly Writer’s House, University of Pennsylvania, Dissolution of the (w)hole, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, Suitable for Hanging, Philadelphia PA
District of Columbia Arts Center, Girls Against Boys, Washington D.C.

Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, The Future is Now: An MFA Biennial, Wilmington, DE

Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Emergency Grant, New York, NY

MFA Faculty Award, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Justine Cretella Memorial Scholarship, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Arcadia University Gallery Award, Arcadia University, Glenside, PA


Wassaic Project, Residency, Wassaic, NY
Franconia Sculpture Park, Open Studio Fellowship, Franconia, MN
Yaddo, Fellowship, Saratoga Springs, NY

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Sculpture Fellowship, New York, NY

Socrates Sculpture Park, Emerging Artist Fellowship, Queens, NY
Vermont Studio Center, Residency, Johnson, VT

Henry Street Settlement Abrons Arts Center, Artist in Residence, New York NY
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Residency, Skowhegan, ME
Takt kunstprojektraum, Residency, Berlin, Germany
Vermont Studio Center, Residency, Johnson, VT

MacDowell Colony, Fellowship, Peterborough NH

BIBLIOGRAPHY, “The Communal Table” Feature Issue 115 December 3, 2014

Vartanian, Hrag: Hyperallergic “The Story of 13 Artists Who Sat Down at a Communal Table” May 30, 2014

D’Agostino, Paul: L Magazine “5 Brooklyn Artists You Need to Know” Vol 12 No 6, March 2014

Dunne, Susan: Hartford Current “Jamie Sneider, MaryKate Maher At Real Art Ways,One Exhibit Challenges Concepts Of Landscape, Another Inspired By Collaboration With Father” January 23, 2013,0,6752406.story

Real Art Ways, “MaryKate Maher – Auspicious Positions” exhibition catalog, 2013.

SIgned X. Issue 1, 18-24. Summer 2012

D’Agostino, Paul: L Magazine “Grounded: Sculpted Beauty” August 15, 2012

Johnson, Paddy: Art Fag City “Recommended Bushwick Open Studio: MaryKate Maher” May 31, 2012

Blumenthal, Carl: Brooklyn Daily Eagle ” Exhibits at Rotunda are a Mixed Bag” February 9, 2012

BRIC Rotunda Gallery, The Bricoleurs, Exhibition Catalog, January 2012

DiMeo, Mia: “Unhinged” January 16, 2012

Kunstwerk Carlshutte NordArt 2011 Exhibition Catalog, 204. June 2011

Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, Newark. Exquisite Corpse: Paul Robeson Galleries 30th Anniversary Exhibition Catalog, November 19, 2009

Harper, Alana: “I Wanna Make Art With Somebody” August 29, 2009

Walleston, Aimee: Art in America “Whitney’s Biennial Gives Young Artists a Second Chance at a Biennial.” August 28, 2009 – news/2009-08-28/whitneys-biennial/

Kim, Joan: The Greenpoint Gazette “Whitney’s Biennial” September 3, 2009

Williams, James Jay III: BOMBlog, Bomb Magazine “Out and About, Twin Infinities” June 22, 2009

Nooan Magazine. Issue #1 Animal, 9. June 2008

Haikes, Belinda. Life, the Universe and Art. October 27, 2007

Fallon, Roberta: Philadelphia Weekly “Hair Force: Vox’s provocative art gets to your heart” July 18, 2007

Cohen, David: Artworld Digest, Seed Issue, 7, 2007