MARY ANN PETERS is an artist whose combined studio work, installations, public art projects and arts activism have made noted contributions to the Northwest and nationally for over 30 years. Most recently her work has focused on the overlap of contemporary events with splintered histories in the Middle East. Her awards include the 2015 Stranger Genius Award in Visual Art, a 2013 Art Matters Foundation research grant, the MacDowell Colony Pollock Krasner Fellowship (2011), the Civita Institute Fellowship (2004) and the Behnke Foundation Neddy Award in Painting (2000). She is a founder of COCA (Center on Contemporary Art), a recipient of the Artist Trust Leadership and Arts Award, and former board member and board president of NCFE (National Campaign for Freedom of Expression), the seminal group who defended artist rights and the First Amendment during the Helms era. She lives and works in Seattle, Washington.
“I work from the premise that images are never neutral and that they sustain layered meaning from the inception of an idea to the completed piece. Historical narratives, architecture, science, personal heritage, politics and questions of perception have all played a part in my thinking over the years. I look for seemingly disparate elements that can coalesce and redefine a topic. I have traveled extensively, most frequently in non-Western cultures. Traveling has informed my understanding of the global roots of aesthetics. It consistently defines for me those social practices that provide outlines for cultural inquiry, including which ethical questions should be considered or supported. In the end I work to the afterimage of the viewer and the potential discourse that might ensue. The kiss of death for any artist is the work that no one can remember.”