The following page is dedicated to available information found on the following artist by students of the Environmental Art class at Ball State. The information is as accurate as can be given available resources. Any additions should be sent to the address below.


Mary Miss


Background Information:

Mary Miss was born in New York City in 1944. Though most of her childhood was spent on the west coast, she would later return to live in New York City and there complete the installations of a majority of her work. Her father was a career military officer, that kept the family constantly moving, so parts of Miss' work hints at years of being billeted in army barracks and forts. Miss studied art at the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1996 to 1966. It was a traditional program she entered and it was during this time she realized art could be about ideas and not just about the shape of something or the look of something. She attended graduate school at the Maryland Art Institute.


Personal Information:

Married Bruce Colvin, another sculptor, in 1967, but was divorced in 1986.


On Art:

Art has become to monolithic and she sees the need to cut away the excess and get rid of the bulk. Public Sculpture needs more function to maintain a truly public place for itself. Art needs to be experienced directly. Miss has come to realize that built structures are accessible to the public: viewers can recognize them, or, from the sum of their personal experiences, make sense of them.


Design Philosophy:

The artists vision includes a unique blend of artist, environmental, scientific and architectural considerations. Her work can best be described as playful surrealism. Her work is resonate with metaphors for protection, fortification, and measurement. She does not so much as build an object as cancel, indicate, enclose, and obstruct space: her intent is to devise situations probing emotional and psychological effects that spaces have on people. The spectators become participants, walking around and through the installations, re-examining surroundings they had taken for granted. She has become a fiend for infrastructure. She strives to create a sense of place. She thinks of spaces/structures that allow people to be the connections between the open space and the dense areas of downtown. All of Mary Miss' installations are site responsive and integrated into the land. She uses images of our everyday environment for references and a look that is casual and natural, but they are definitely designed and deliberate. These spatial experiences often are found historically in vernacular architecture. Mary Miss likes to work on her own; thinking things through. Because of this and the fact her work physically and visually integrated into the site she spends a lot of time on location, pacing out the space, inspecting indigenous structures and photographing all of it.


Other Hobbies:

When she is not in the studio designing or on the site working out the fine details, Mary Miss enjoys reading novels and watching movies.


Completed Works:



This information was compiled by Allan Henderson (2-14-97).


Other Links...

Battery Park City -- a work (CLIP site).
Field Rotation -- a work at Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park.
Staged Gates -- a work in Oakwood, Ohio.



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