Mary Gow an award-winning fine art photographer, mixed media artist and freelance writer. She’s been exhibiting her work for over 25 years, and been recognized in juried art competitions including those held by Fuji Film’s “A New Way of Seeing,” the San Francisco Women Artists, and the Pacific Art League.
Originally from Louisiana, Mary grew up working at her family’s Southern Cooking and Soul Food business (in the then segregated South). She became a keen observer of the human condition. She saw first hand the beauty of a simple cheerful “hello,” and witnessed her parents' steady determination to serve in an underserved community for 39 years. Mary continues her family’s nurturing soul food tradition through her expressive creations.
Her love of the tools of expression began as early as she could hold crayons and leave lines of bold color on hallway walls. (Her wall coloring didn’t last long as a kid though).
At the age of nine she began her first personally inspired writing campaign to collect maps and information about the cities she wanted to visit in the United States. She would later, as an adult, visit all those cities and 41 of the 50 states, and 17 countries. Interesting tidbit: she was the first Asian-American female in her hometown to letter in high school varsity tennis.
Though mostly a self-taught artist, influential teachers include Harvey Stein at the International Center of Photography in New York and Patti Bellantoni at the School of Visual Arts in New York. A workshop with the forerunner of photomontage, Jerry Uelsmann, left a lasting impression. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a master’s from San Jose State University.
Mary’s worked as a freelance photographer for two major educational publishers. Her fine art photography has won several awards, and most recently appeared in Forum, a literary journal published by San Francisco City College. Her writings have appeared in the Austin American Statesman, the New Bernal Journal, the Dallas Morning News and New Texas Magazine.
Though she’s had many displays of her art, a show in San Francisco caught the eye of an art reviewer:
Gow’s work is part of the abstract art tradition which developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when many artists felt literal graphic representation didn’t adequately express feelings they were experiencing. Like her predecessors, Gow showcases a reality that is impossible to illustrate in any other way. -Murray Paskin
Read the full review at San Francisco Examiner.
Mary’s currently working on an inspirational book and she blogs about her creative journey at ArtSpirit7.com.
Here’s what some people have to say about her work:
“The colors in your abstract work are so vivid and alive–and then the black and white. Just lovely. Haunting. (Even the photographs tend towards the abstract: much tension there between a recognizable “image” and our perception of the “purity” of lines and related spaces. It’s as if an other consciousness were pulling at us as we look at the world.”
– Jack Foley, poet/performer/writer and host of KPFA 94.1 FM’s “Cover to Cover”
“Pure invention, challenging the viewer to consider the possibilities of the image.”
– Robert Buelteman
“Refreshing . . . takes us back to what photography is all about.”
– Marvin Wax
“THANKS SO MUCH for this gorgeous splash of beauty on my wall! Came home and immediately on entering, it burst into my vision and would not let me go – just as it did at your showing. And now I get to drink it in umpteen times a day.”
-Lisa Dollar, founder of the Lysistrada Project
“This piece is beautiful, ethereal–the colorist theme really comes through.”
“Beautiful! I’ve enjoyed looking at all your wonderful work! Thank you.”
– Vicki Smith
“Thank you for sharing your unique brand of art with the world. Goodness knows we need the spiritual uplift that your paintings spark! How can one resist such transcendent beauty?”
“Your work is beautiful!”
– Leslie Katz, Arts Editor, San Francisco Examiner
“Stunning work in every medium!”
– Jake Berry