Mary Silverwood, a Colorful Pastelist, Dies at Age 79
Mary Silverwood, whose paintings are prized by art collectors worldwide, died of natural causes on Thursday, December 15, 2011, in Belen, New Mexico, where she lived. She was 79.
Born in 1932, in Bryan, Texas, Ms. Silverwood was raised in Washington, DC, and Fort Worth, Texas. She received her BFA from the University of Texas, Austin, and did post-graduate studies and teaching at Sonoma State University, California. In her early career, Ms. Silverwood lived and painted in Sonoma, where she transformed the everyday landscape into colorful expressions that bridged the boundaries of abstract and representational art. Working in pastels, she was noted for composing planes of often arbitrary colors into vibrant saturated passages.
Ms. Silverwood began traveling to New Mexico in the late 1980s, where she was profoundly inspired by the state's stark sunlit shapes and patterns. She visited routinely and was a New Mexican in practice and spirit long before she purchased a home in Belen in 2000. She was most recently represented by Santa Fe galleries Ventana Fine Art and Joyce Robins Gallery.
Ms. Silverwood is remembered as one of the state's most inventive interpreters. Her masterful ability to apply pure pigment to black rag paper was routinely recognized by her peers, including The Pastel Journal, which featured her work in 2001 and 2008 and on the cover of their 2009 calendar. In 2004, Ms. Silverwood authored a book titled The Art of Seeing and Visual Expression. A year later, in 2005, the editors of New Mexico Magazine chose her for their annual calendar. In 2006, she was included in the Fresco Fine Art book Landscapes of New Mexico.
Ms. Silverwood's paintings have been an emissary for New Mexico in both public and private collections. She was the subject of more than 25 solo exhibitions in New Mexico and California, exhibited in the 2002-2004 and 2010 Albuquerque Museum Miniatures and More shows, and was juried into the 2003 and 2011 exhibitions sponsored by the New Mexico Chapter of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. In 2004, she was included in So Q, Contemporary Art in Southern NM, organized by the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe. That same year the Art in Public Places Acclaimed Artist Series purchased four Silverwood paintings for placement throughout the state. In 2007, her paintings hung in the American Embassy in Belmopan, Belize.
Ms. Silverwood was quoted as saying that color was her passion and making art was her reason for living. She lived her life in agreement with her favorite poem, Joy, by Carl Sandburg and the line: "Let the joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by."