Mary Ann Forehand

Artist Statement

For me, the process of painting abstractly is both challenging and very satisfying.  It is a very personal statement. I love working with the properties of the various materials to express myself in a non-verbal way. I know that our personal aesthetic and what we consider to be beautiful changes over time. This provides the mark maker in me a personal history of my marks and a way of building a rich visual vocabulary to use in my work.  Non-objective painting forces me to slow down and sort through universal emotions and experiences that are at once quite spiritual and moving and at the same time abstract and illusive. Recently my starting point has been a blind contour drawing in inks and other media of the Southern Magnolia blossom. I think this particular flower is strongly identified with Southern women and has a great deal of meaning to me. I never want there to be an identifiable image but my knowing the Magnolia is the start or “backbone” of my work definitely informs how I like the work to appear. My paintings are a process of building up layers and surfaces through repeatedly painting out, painting back in, carving into the surface and drawing. I value the originality in each of us and I want my work to have the evidence of my own hand with all of its intuitive marks, hesitations, mistakes and inherent clumsiness.

Artist Bio

Mary Ann Forehand was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. From an early age, she was drawn to art in all its forms. After raising her children, Mary Ann enrolled in East Carolina University where she earned a BFA in Painting with honors as well as “Most outstanding senior in the School of art” and “Most outstanding senior in Painting and Drawing.” 

At East Carolina, Mary Ann was exposed to metal-smithing, sculpture, wood working as well as painting and drawing. Mary Ann has gone on to become a full time studio artist who has simultaneously pursued painting and metal-smithing. Over the past five years Mary Ann’s passion for painting has overtaken other forms of artistic expression and she now paints in her studio daily. 

Mary Ann works primarily in acrylics and enjoys creating complex layers and textures. Inspirations for Mary Ann’s work come from a variety of sources; landscape and nature, sailing, reading, current events, family and friends, her garden, a trip to the ocean or even a song. Mary Ann has spent her life finding inspiration and creating every day. A juried member of Piedmont Craftsman, Inc., (PCI) for metalwork, Mary Ann has also had her paintings featured in Southern Living magazine.

Artist Gallery Page