Arts / Galleries

Houston Artist Lets You See What Really Goes Into Putting on a Show — Mary Margaret Hansen Pulls Back the Curtain on Atablo

True Behind the Scenes Access

BY Mary Margaret Hansen // 08.14.20

This is the first story in a new PaperCity series which spotlights artists sharing insights into the making of their exhibitions: Houston talent Mary Margaret Hansen pulls back the curtain on her current show, “Atablo’ ” at Houston’s Heidi Vaughan Fine Art. 

“Atablo’ ” is a mirror, a looking glass through which a viewer sees what I see. By appointment at Heidi Vaughan Fine Art, “Atablo’ ” is an immersive installation of photo collages, porcelain dinner plates, chairs appliqued with fabric remnants, and recycled and embellished chandeliers.

Years ago, I became compulsive about juxtaposing both my photographs and found objects.

I saw them all as fragments waiting to be partnered with another and yet another to become what I call “Atablo.’ ” This made-up word is actually the phonetic spelling of “a tableau,” defined in the dictionary as a picturesque arrangement.

I spend my days on visual hunts that begin when I wake up in the morning. I see the world around me and quite often begin to photograph, as a kind of morning meditation, a quiet way of observing, responding. I take photos when gathering shells on a Galveston beach, when finding treasure at The Guild Shop, while eating tacos with a friend, or walking in a neighborhood. 

My collages are littered with ripe fruit and pastries, women’s faces and gestures, wilted flowers and withered leaves, Renaissance women in dishabille and portraits in marble, vintage dishes, and green growing things, details of my everyday.

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“Red is the Breath of Life Itself” Multi-media photo collage with handwritten narrative around the borders. (Photo by Mary Margaret Hansen)
Mary Margaret Hansen’s Red is the Breath of Life Itself, a multimedia photo collage with handwritten narrative around the borders. (Photo by Mary Margaret Hansen)

Creating these visual tableaus — arrangements — is my process for making art. I discover more magic and mystery in what I photograph or collect when I create relationships between and among them. I believe an artist, or a writer, or a musician can conjure up other worlds in which we can all wander.

Cross the threshold at Heidi Vaughan Fine Art for a visual meander. “Atablo’ is my delight in the world I see and a world I want to share with you.

See Glasstire’s video walk through of “Atablo’ ” here.  

Read Mary Margaret Hansen’s travel diaries, many of which provided images and inspiration for this current show at Heidi Vaughan Fine Art, here and here

“Mary Margaret Hansen: Atablo’ ” at Heidi Vaughan Fine Art (3510 Lake Street) runs through Saturday, August 29. To make an appointment to view the show, contact the gallery here

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