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2004 Mary Merkel-Hess Born: Waterloo, Iowa 1949 reed, paper and acrylic paint 27 x 16 x 10 in. (68.6 x 40.6 x 25.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mary and Stephen Merkel-Hess in honor of Jane Milosch 2007.15.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 54B

Luce Center Quote

"Ionia is one of the paper vessels that I have named for towns in Iowa . . . The place names are not specific to that experience [process of study] or the piece itself, but they do recall my association with my environment. In the case of Ionia, as with many Iowa place names, the word itself recalls another place in the world." Artist correspondence

Luce Center Label

Mary Merkel-Hess's sculptural baskets recall the natural landscape in her native Iowa. The thin paper rods and reeds, used throughout her work, mimic the tall grasses and cultivated fields found throughout the state. Here, Merkel-Hess tightly gathered the reeds at the base, leaving the upper section loose. She painted the organic materials a bright red, which emphasizes the spaces between the reeds at the top. Though the reeds are not free moving, they give the impression of tall grasses blowing in the wind.


decorative arts - fiber

Crafts - Fiber

About Mary Merkel-Hess

Born: Waterloo, Iowa 1949

More works in the collection by
Mary Merkel-Hess