Fiber artist Mary Merkel-Hess was born and raised in Iowa where the landscape is dominated by fields of grass and corn. Her sculptural vessels and wall pieces, which she refers to as “landscape reports” are inspired by these natural surroundings. Using paper, reeds and other materials, Merkel-Hess’s work conjures images of slender grasses and cultivated fields, shaped and tamed like Iowa’s landscape.
“I make art because I am fascinated with form and structure. 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 suggest ideas and the search for a method of construction that allows my ideas to take shape.”
Works by Mary Merkel-Hess have appeared in many national and international exhibitions. Her pieces are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Art and Design, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA; Racine Museum of Art, Racine, WI; and the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.