ARTISTS - Olson Larsen Gallery - contemporary art gallery West Des Moines, Iowa
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Mary Merkel-Hess

Like an unusual object in nature, a work by Mary Merkel-Hess first arrests attention, then inspires awe. The question What is it? quickly becomes How was it made? Working with natural (or nearly-natural) materials and intricate techniques to create these unique works - powerful in their delicacy - the artist explains: "I look for inspiration in the natural world, and then allow technique to mesh with these visual ideas to create something new. I enjoy all aspects of this process; the appreciation of the world around me that suggests ideas and the search for a method of construction that allows my ideas to take shape." Born in Iowa, Mary Merkel-Hess grew up in the same farming community where her great-grandparents from Luxembourg had settled many years before. Her talent for drawing and interest in nature emerged early. However, she earned her first degree in humanities at Marquette University (Milwaukee) before turning to art and a B.F.A. at University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee). She then continued to both an M.A. and M.F.A. at the University of Iowa where she specialized in metal-smithing and papermaking. Works by Mary have appeared in more than 25 national and international exhibitions. Her pieces are in permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Art and Design in New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass. and the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Read more about Mary's work on our blog.

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Click a thumbnail below to view the full size image.

Media: Paper, paper cord
Dimensions: 23 x 36 x 18 
Price: $8,200.00

Media: Gampi paper, paper board
Dimensions: 36 x 24 x 3 
Price: $3,600.00

Media: Gampi paper, foam board
Dimensions: 24 x 35 x 1
Price: 2,200.00

Media: Reed and paper
Dimensions: 37 x 26 x 10
Price: 4,400.00

Media: Reed and fiber
Dimensions: 12 x 36 x 2
Price: 1,800.00

GRASSLAND (detail)

Media: Gampi paper, paper, museum board
Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 10 
Price: $900.00

Media: Gampi paper, paper, wood
Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 7 
Price: $800.00

Media: Paper, paper cord
Dimensions: 23 x 36 x 18 
Price: $3,800.00

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