Born in 1957 in London. Works and lives in Galway (Ireland) and Utrecht (Netherlands). Mary A. Waters grew up in Ireland, where the access to the masterpieces of the museums and to the rich illustrated books of the libraries was very difficult. Fascinated by the Italian Renaissance art and the Dutch and British Golden Age art, she had to satisfy her curiosity with the reproductions, often in black and white, she could find on catalogues. This indirect contact with artworks deeply impressed her reflexion, and the use of reproductions is at the core of her artistic approach. For Mary A. Waters, the symbolic value of an original (economic and historic values) as well as the context in which we observe it, influence our sensing, whereas a reproduction allowing both the contact and the necessary distance, gives us the opportunity to experiment fully these masterpieces. Thus, in her artist's statement, Mary A. Waters acts as an image-hunter : on her canvases she reclaims characters from the most famous portraits of the History of Art that she combines with a contemporary touch. The meticulous treatment of the old elements contrasts with a free use of colors and loans from photographic and cinematographic techniques : close-up, studio cinema screen size canvases, monochrome backgrounds as the ones of a photographer’s studio. These ostentatious figures, who display the attributes of their power and wealth, are shown in an inappropriated surrounding which annihilates the message of superiority that these images used to carry. Playing on fake anachronisms, the artist invites us to reconsider the way we apprehend artworks, especially the emblematic images from the Western European culture. Through these skilfully elaborated images, presented out of context and time, the artist initiates us into feeling above all the timelessness and the power of Painting. For the first show of Mary A. Waters in France, Galerie Pièce Unique presents at 4, rue Jacques Callot a new painting of the artist, realized especially for the space, and at 26, rue Mazarine at Pièce Unique Variations, a selection of her paintings.
Waters’ works are reflections, beginning with reproductions rather than objects as a source — her paintings open an expressive interpretation through slowly shifting shades in a system of processes. The grandeur of Italian Renaissance and the middle-century Dutch, German & English masters influences her figurative technique — Waters often squarely drawing from works of period as a starting point — and ‘Woman with Headress’ has as much in common with Vermeer or Pinakothek as 21st century figurative work.