Artist Spotlight: Mary Day – The Naples Art District showcases member artists in their Artist Spotlight! series. Different artists are featured to provide an in-depth look into their work. The Naples Art District focuses this week on artist Mary Day!
Mary Day is a multi-media artist who is known for her paintings and contemporary abstraction. She was raised in Miami, Florida, and the Caribbean, (though she was born in Medellin, Colombia—a surprise to many people), and has had an interest in making art since childhood. She grew ardent about exploring art and artistry after viewing a film about Vincent van Gogh in elementary school and eventually pursued that interest in college. Mary studied multiple facets of art and earned two degrees: a BA in Art History and Photography and an MFA in Painting from Florida State University. She taught community college art courses for 27 years and has participated in a variety of artists’ residencies during her career as an artist.
Mary’s artistic process “exists between two-dimensional drawing and three-dimensional form,” she has explained. Her focus is on the movement between the two, which “ignites a connection of thoughts and feelings translated into physical form.” When asked about her inspirations, Mary says, “I’m inspired by the myriad connections I observe in Nature.” As for well-known artists who inspire her and her work, she says there are many, including Kathe Kollwitz, Eva Hesse, and Louise Bourgeois.
Mary was drawn to create as a multi-media artist—artistic connections inspired by Nature often require the use of a variety of mediums. Her mediums of choice? “Rattan reed for its natural flexibility and strength. Charcoal for its density. Paint for its color and texture,” she shares. Known for her captivating sculptural basket-weaving abstractions, “the strength and versatility of the reed to build rhythmic forms” is important, especially as historical tradition and construction methods for basket weaving inform her as she builds what she calls “organic ‘containers’ of space.” Her two-dimensional work includes interestingly beautiful drawings and paintings with a depth that shows movement and space even with few materials. Her favorite art tool to use is her Princeton liner brush because of “the rhythm and movement it creates as an extension of [her] hand.”
Though Mary is a dedicated artist and arts educator, she has other interests and passions, too. She is a writer and enjoys traveling (pre-Covid), yoga, and meditation. Mary lives and works in Naples, Florida. She moved to the area in 2015 and established a new home to create her art: she is a partner in smallwalls, a working studio and project space. You can view some of Mary’s earlier work online and her current work in the smallwalls gallery, located on Shirley Street in the Naples Art District.
The Naples Art District (NAD), home of the largest concentration of working artists in Southwest Florida, provides a place for professional artists like Mary to share their talents with one another and with visitors, as studios and galleries are open to the public. NAD member artists work in the District and offer educational opportunities and special events for the local community. NAD publishes a calendar of events, classes, and workshops online for anyone interested in meeting and learning more from the artists of the District. Contact the Naples Art District via their website or by phone at 239-249-1977 for more information.