On the Blue Shore of Silence
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"On the Blue Shore of Silence"
by Mary Heebner
SABADO Magazine, Santiago, Chile Page 12, Illustrations.

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The exclusive editions of artists' books combined with texts by great authors, in which books function as objects of art, made for the admiration and aesthetic delight for whomever may view them, are scarce in Chile. The high price of artists' limited edition books means that few people ever see such publications. For example, one book found in a rare bookstore in Providencia, and edited by Poligrafa in the eighties, is the story by Gabriel Márquez, El Buque de Wilfredo Lam, valued at approximately three million pesos. The other, brought to us by the publishing house Contrapunto, is a book of photographs by Helmut Newton that came with its own stand designed by Philip Stark. This was not on sale in bookstores and was only able to be viewed at the publishing house where one of the copies was displayed. It was valued at around about a million and a half pesos. There certainly are differences, but similarly, United States artist Mary Heebner recently visited Chile to present one of her copies of On the Blue Shore of Silence, to the Fundación Neruda.

This is a selection of twelve poems by Pablo Neruda, with the general theme of the sea. Each poem is accompanied by a watercolor print from paintings made by Heebner. This is a bilingual edition, with translations by one of the most important translators of both Neruda and Borges, the Scottish writer Alastair Reid. It is a beautiful and important work in which Heebner has shown her energy and talent completely. As an admirer of Neruda, and inspired by his home in Isla Negra and by the same coastal landscape, Heebner created watercolor prints tinged with blues and indigos, that were inspired by the sea and the ship's figureheads (mascarones collected by Neruda for his Isla Negra home). Silver and bronze powders overlay the blues adding ground earthen pigments and minerals to the work. It is not only the texture of the linen paper Heebner makes herself - which brings a beauty and a special shine to her creations - but it is the cadence, the resonance of the poems together with the images that deeply and movingly reflect the poetic spirit and geography of the Pacific.

The literary agent Carman Balcells authorized permission to use the Neruda poems in their original Spanish for which Heebner gave a copy to her and to the Fundación Neruda. And so this is how one of an edition of fifty came into the hands of the fundacion where the general public can now view it. On the Blue Shore of Silence is Mary Heebner's fifth artists' book, but it is the first instance in which she uses text (poetry in this case) that is not her own. The energy that she puts into her paintings, the intensity of her work and her infinite enthusiasm, portends more work of this caliber. Notwithstanding, she needs to sell at least nineteen of these books in order to cover the enormous costs of creating this edition; she has already sold eleven, leaving only eight to go. Whoever is able; whomever has the money - $3500.00USD- ought to think seriously about acquiring this book.
- Andrés Aguirre

El Mercurio, Saturday ARTS Edition "Notas de Arte" April 8, 2001

A Sea of Paper

For over twenty years the Californian painter, Mary Heebner has explored the relationship between the receptive medium of paper and the various pigments and natural materials, such as copper or silver pigments, available to her.

Her abstract work establishes a dialogue between prehistoric art and modern methods of creation. For example, she uses digital tools to produce the prints for her editioned work. She uses paper instead of canvas and this led Heebner to create artists books of images and writing. Her titles include: "Old Marks, New Marks"(1996), "A Chorus of Murmurs: Prayer Flags of Sikkim" (1997), and "Western Trilogy: The Prairie, The Ocean, The Desert" (2000). Her paintings and other works have been exhibited in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art among others, and internationally in countries such as China and Mexico.

In March of this year Heebner presented her artists' book in Chile; On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea by Pablo Neruda. This collection of watercolors and poetry is the first book that Heebner has made using another's text. The twelve poems of Pablo Neruda are accompanied by the translations of Alastair Reid, who was a personal friend of Neruda and is known internationally as the translator of Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges and others. Heebner received permission from literary agent Carmen Balcells to use the Chilean's poems in the original Spanish and Reid contributed his original translations for this book, of which there are only fifty copies, plus ten hors commerce.

On the Blue Shore of Silence is made through the giclée method which consists of scanning and digitalizing original watercolors painted by Heebner for the purpose of creating the book, instead of more traditional printing techniques. The prints give the illusion of the original texture and dimensionality that goes beyond a two dimensional surface. Heebner chose watercolor and the giclée method because she considered these to most faithfully reflect the sea that emerges through Neruda's writing.

You can arrange to view the book by appointment in the Library of the Neruda Foundation (La Chascona, Fernando Márquez de la Plata 0192) Mondays to Fridays between 9:30 and 1PM, and between 3 and 6PM. You can also make a virtual visit through www.maryheebner.com - translation of original article by Andres Aguirre for Artes y Letras. ( www.elmercurio.cl)