Carved Concrete, 7' ht, 1992
© Mary Fuller
I feel very strongly that in order to create a viable, true, feminist art, we have to bypass the entire patriarchal ideology and vision; we have somehow to get back behind all of that falseness and distortion to an authentic concept of women, and of men, that is freed from the psychological disorder and misogyny built into that way of viewing the world.
Mary Fuller casts giant totems and goddesses out of a mixture of vermiculite, sand, cement and water which she carves with a knife and rasp. Her sculpture has been exhibited all over the world; her commissioned pieces grace public spaces throughout California. She is also the author of three novels and numerous short stories, poems and articles.
Mary Fuller produced one of the key documentary works in the field of modern California art history, A Period of Exploration. San Francisco 1945-1950 (Oakland Museum, 1973). As the accompanying exhibition's curator, Terry St. John, pointed out in his catalog statement: "Until recently little has been published about San Francisco's role in the development of what is now commonly called Abstract Expressionism." This is especially true for the period which Fuller has written about,1945-1950, which are often referred to as the 'golden age' of San Francisco painting. Thus, Fuller's pioneering work assumes even greater stature as a major body of historical documentation of modern American Art. Fuller's original tapes at the Archives of American Art augment an interview conducted by art historian Susan Landauer in September 1994.
Born in Wichita, Kansas in 1922, Fuller moved to California in 1924. Apprenticed in ceramics at the California Faience Company in Berkeley, she was largely self-taught as an artist. Among the awards she has received are: First Prize (sculpture), Annual Pacific Coast Ceramic Show, San Francisco, 1947; Ford Foundation Grant for book, "A Period of Exploration," 1965; Merit Award, Annual San Francisco Arts Festival, 1971; Art Critic Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1975. Her one-woman exhibitions have included: Artists' Guild Gallery, San Francisco, 1947; Lucien Labaudt Gallery, San Francisco, 1950; John Bolles Gallery, San Francisco, 1961; Ota Gallery (now Kroeber Prints), San Francisco, 1972; Santa Rosa City Hall, California, 1974. Her public commissions include: University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, 1974; Community Center, Salinas, California, 1976; Andrew Hill High School, San Jose, California, 1977; Department of Motor Vehicles, Yuba City, California, 1978; and the San Francisco West Side Pump Station, 1979.
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All images and text © Mary Fuller.