Mary Bogdan — Paintings, Assemblages, Prints

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A comprehensive 78 page retrospective of selected works by artist Mary Bogdan, featuring over 140 works of art, including combine paintings, works on paper, assemblages and limited edition prints. In the best tradition of the works of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol.

Text of Mary Bogdan — Paintings, Assemblages, Prints





  • published by


    2007 HeuteKunst and Mary

    Graphic design by Crayon Design & Communication Inc., on demand by

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may bereproduced in any form or by any means, electronic ormechanical (including photocopying, recording, andinformation storage or retrieval) without prior consent ofthe publishers.

    ISBN 978-0-9782775-0-5

    Mary Bogdanpaintings | assemblages | prints

  • 3I A M A G L E A N E R

    In scrap heaps of abandoned or demolished buildings, alleyways and flea markets, I find rare

    treasure. Garbage. Remnants of wood and metal, books, boxes, old paintings, all that have been

    discarded are interesting to me.

    My work deals with obsolescence. Each found object has out-lived its time and has therefore been

    scrapped. Dead. I rescue and assemble them with collected items from my own past. I sense the

    objects energy guiding its reincarnation to a higher purpose. Art.

    These artifacts that have chosen me, tell stories of where they have been, where I have been, where I

    am and where I am going. Stories of passion and anger, strength and weakness, love, hate and fear.

    Revealing me to me.


  • 4spring street, newyork, ny, 2002,31"w x 49"h,combine painting:mixed media on foundkitchen cabinet frame

    The significance of the work liesboth in the creative process aswell as in the final piece. Its thecycle that involves recycling,recovery (or discovery),manipulation, and the alterationof found objects. Modificationsand transformations can affect athing over time, and this is thecelebration of the found objectin art.

    My works are a personalvision of self-discovery and arecognition of the continualreinvention of myself. It is theshaping of the self through thecreation of art and thedevelopment of the art throughself-construction. This ongoingand evolving cycle is theessence of my work.




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  • 7the secret of the making Mypainting comes from the GUT.These are representations of mysacred places, deep-seateddesires, angers, frustrations,passions - all the emotions of theheart. They are my life history.

    This piece was my firstcombine painting. Painted andassembled items on the backside of a stretched canvas.Divided into four sections, eachwith its own character, buttogether they make a whole.

    Included is a burnt book,domino set, match book, mailshoot, various dried flowers andleaves, piece of loosenedasphalt found on the street,miniature playing cards, fuse,scroll key, dice, two rubberstamps: CHARGE, and 6 inchcast iron damper, dried tea bag,opened up carton box, andvarious printed material andmaps.

    the secret of themaking, 2001,60"w x 40"h,combine painting:mixed media onbackside of stretchedcanvas

  • 8myFather/myself: ode to alojz Thispiece is a homage to my father,who was the greatest influencein my early childhood. I was hisson. This gave me carte-blanche to be all I could be. Itwas clear that as a girl I coulddo anything, same as a boy.This was a very profoundwisdom on his part, rememberthis was the 1950's, beforefeminism. I helped him buildextra rooms to our house andhelped him make his own wineevery autumn. He didn't speakvery much, so our relationshipwas an intuitive dialog. He wasa very gentle man, but withmany internal demons...

    This combine painting isabout him and me and ourfamily history... it was made justbefore his death when I wasobsessed with his journey, as hehad been sick for 9 long yearsand his death was an extremelyslow process...

    I found an old-fashionedwooden key cabinet, possiblyfrom a hotel or apartmentbuilding, at a Salvation Armystore. I worked on it, using myfather's dress patterns that he'dmade as a tailor. There hadbeen thousands of them in thegarage and in the basementwhere he used to work. After hisdeath, I took only a few,carefully chosen pieces from hiscollection.

    On the inside of this cabinet Iplaced a child's toy tool set,which opens and closes as doesthe larger cabinet. I used veryspecific items that reminded meof my father. The very short,worn-down pencil (he wasnotorious for using short pencils);the spools of thread; the "A"alphabet block letter; the tailor'swooden ruler; the leveling tool;the picture of me with my familywhen I was 6 months old; thelarge paint brush as a flamenailed to a small christian prayerbook inside a picture frame, allon top of a Rabbinical Collegediploma. Throughout are veryemotional letters to my father,written as I painted. Words Icould not speak to him directly.

    I attached two largewooden thread spools ashandles onto the cabinet doorsand tied them with rope to keepit closed. It is about 4 feet high,the height of a child.

    On the morning of hisfuneral, I wrote my father a letteron one of his patterns which Idalready painted on sometimeearlier, because I wanted to givehim something and leavesomething with him. I wrote on itas I cried and my tears arethere, too. I folded it and closedit up and tied it up with ropeand left it with him. My handson his patterns. It was buriedwith him.

  • 9myFather/myself:ode to alojz, 2003,43"w x 43.5"h x 5"dopen; combine painting:mixed media on awooden key cabinet

  • 10

    triptych hardedge,2002, 58"w x 39.25"h,mixed media painting onback side of 3 previously-used (by another artist)canvases

    triptych hardedge The backside isa very hardedge painting byan anonymous artist. I boughtthese three canvases together for$5.00, at a flea market locatedin a back lane of Plateau MontRoyal (St Viater and Park Ave) inMontreal.

    I found this very old triptychhardedge painting intriguing. Iloved the way the canvaseswere stretched at the back and itinspired me with its flowingshapes, so I painted veryorganically on the backside of itusing soft earth tones, in contrastto the bright primary colors onthe other side.

    Rebel much?

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    between twohorizontal strokes,2002,21.5"w x 16.5"h,mixed media paintingon back side ofpreviously-used (byanother artist) canvas

    Combine Paintings: I paint with intense spiritualityand intuition. This series has come about with thediscovery of old, discarded paintings found on thestreets or in the garbage or at flea markets. I paintfuriously over them, picking up on the energy leftbehind.

    Often, I turn these found/discarded canvasesaround, paint on the back sides, exposing the

    wood frame. These canvases live again becausethey have given me their inspiration. Their energy.They feed me. By working on other artists thrown-away paintings, I am one with all art and allartists. I am the continuation, the circle. I submergemyself in the flow of energy that is art.

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    open door, 2002,31.25"w x 33"h,mixed media paintingon back side ofpreviously-used (byanother artist) canvas

    we are seekingleaders, 2002,38"w x 38"h,mixed media paintingon back side ofpreviously-used (byanother artist) canvas

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    espace, 2002,21.75"w x 15"h,mixed media paintingon backside ofpreviously-used (byanother artist) canvas

    What is interesting is this idea of the personalfound object rather than the simple randomselection of the mundane or utilitarian.

    Recycling is the way to go for our westernmaterialistic civilization! I love the idea ofincorporating our environment into the work. Thereis beauty in everything and I put it together so thatthe viewer can see it. I think thats what makes artcompelling. Its about showing something that isvery human and vulnerable in all of us, and nothaving too much fear about exposing it.

    YES, its the ability to create while in the

    zone (esoragoto), and then after some time,being able to read your own work and writeabout it in order to understand yourself and yourown personal process better. That is awareness ona higher level. Art is a vehicle to bring you there.It is for me.

    YES, the zone, or groove. The best place tocreate from... And, YES, its important to reflect onones own work and the growth that results... andthen, to see an observer make a connection ontheir own journey, using your work as anotherguide. That is a gift!

  • 15

    silence III, 2002,28.75"w x 21.5"h,mixed media paintingon backside ofpreviously-used (byanother artist) canvas

    literal passion, 2002,20"w x 16"h, mixedmedia painting onbackside of previously-used (by another artist)canvas

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    My images are personal to me, a deep search formyself, my unexposed innards. My unexploredworlds, unsaid words, unexpressed love, hiddenangers. These are all expressed here on canvas. Iwork feverishly and furiously to express in my artthat which I cannot express in my life. Here I havecarte-blanche to be and be me. No judgments, no

    negatives, no problemo. I am. I exist. I ampassionate. Me.

    I see from the inside out, bringing with me thehidden parts of me, the unexpressed, theunchallenged, the weak, the strong, the hates andthe loves. Me. Sacred Places.

    m: self portrait,2001, 60"w x 40"h,combine painting:mixed media oncanvas

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    cross & crown, 2001,60"w x 40"h,mixed media paintingon canvas

    books, music & caf,2001, 48"w x 30"h,mixed media paintingon both sides of cor-plast

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    content, 2001,48"w x 38"h, mixedmedia painting onpreviously-used (byanother artist) canvas

    I collect enormous amounts of paper, boxes,cardboard, block letters, tissue paper, patternpaper, etc. I paint on them individually and ingroupings, and then use them in my larger works,bringing together different textures, feelings, colors

    etc, into one