Madison artist Mary Kay Neumann in her garden of watercolors

UPDATE:  There will be an Exhibition Closing OPEN HOUSE for this wonderful exhibition on Sunday, April 29, 2012, 1 o’clock -3 o’clock pm.  Plan to come if you are going to be in Madison.

One of my favorite Wisconsin artists,  Mary Kay Neumann was kind enough to give me a preview of some of her newest paintings.

I have loved the intense and spontaneous feel of Mary Kay’s deeply moving watercolors since I first saw them.  Her  wet-into-wet watercolor florals are alive with emotions of joy,  conflict, and and the intrinsic beauty of life.   I’m delighted to get to show you some of her most recent works.

Falling Slowly (for Scout), watercolor, 30x22, ©2012 Mary Kay Neumann

Her newest exhibition, Art Still Has Truth, Take Refuge There,  runs March 19 through April 30, with viewings by appointment (email [email protected]). An artist’s reception, open to the public, is March 24, 5–9 p.m., at PilateSpa Studio, 2045 Atwood Ave., Suite 107. For more information, visit (Update:  The exhibition is lovely.  It is well worth the effort to call an make an appointment for viewing.  Mary Kay’s paintings are alive with color and texture.  Enjoy!).

Mary Kay’s says of her own work:  “Artmaking can be an avenue of social change. This past year, Wisconsin has been overwhelmed by explosive politics. Many families, neighbors, friends and coworkers have become estranged from each other during this tumultuous time. My intent is to bring people together, leave their differences aside, and seek refuge in art”, says Mary Kay Neumann.

HOWL, watercolor, 30x22, ©2012 Mary Kay Neumann

Mary Kay lives her beliefs every day.  In addition to being an artist she is a trauma therapist who started a psychotherapy clinic for feminist therapy in Madison in 1988. She advocates for positive social change on the personal and societal level in one way or another in every part of her life as both artist and therapist.

“I work with many people who have been abused and see dignity and bravery in their efforts to overcome trauma. While painting or doing psychotherapy I move back and forth between what is painful and what is joyous. The faces of my intensely colored flowers sometimes reflect a struggle to exist. I deliberately infuse emotion in my flowers and invite the viewer to see the beauty in imperfection. Making art and doing psychotherapy both involve the search for what is honest and true…to make meaning out of chaos. ‘Art still has truth, take refuge there’ is a line from a poem by Matthew Arnold. I experience that phrase as a clarion call.”

Riders on the Storm, watercolor, 30x22, ©2012 Mary Kay Neumann

“As a feminist, the personal IS political”

Mary Kay donates 10% of all her art sales to non-profits.  She will be donating a percentage of her sales from this exhibition to “Options for Community Living”, a local group that provides residential services to adults with developmental disabilities.

Mary Kay Neumann has shown her paintings  in solo and group exhibition in galleries and art centers across the US, including New York City, Chicago, and California.   In Wisconsin she chosen traditional and non-traditional venues to bring her art to a broad audience, including shows in  Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton’s Office at the State Capitol, the Wisconsin Arts Board gallery, the Pyle Center at the University of Wisconsin, and the 25th Annual Artful Women Show at the UW Hospital and Clinics.

The Heart Aroused, watercolor, ©2012 Mary Kay Neumann

Mary Kay has a strong following of private collectors throughout the U.S.A as well as having works in corporate collections that include Meriter Hospital, Petkovsek & Moran and Red Sage Health in Madison;  Dean Clinic in Janesville and D&K Pattern in St. Charles, Michigan.  She also was juried into the  Percent for Art Program in 2010 , and the State of Wisconsin purchased one of her paintings for their Public Art Collection (Unfortunately that program and several others serving individual artists is now defunct due to cuts to the Wisconsin Arts Board budget)

The exhibition space for the exhibition is  the PILATESPA Studio, that Mary Kay calls an “art gallery for bodies”. The Studio is a gem in the midst of Atwood Avenue.  The owner, Kathleen Conklin, has been an active arts supporter and promoter for many artists over the years. She has created a lovely art and movement venue that is well loved. Her beautiful space will be a fine setting for  Mary Kay Neumann’s colorful paintings of flowers. 

To see more of Mary Kay’s wonderful watercolors, plan to come to the opening reception on March 24th, 5-9 and I’ll see you there (tell me if you read this blog).

What A Little Moon, watercolor, ©2012 Mary Kay Neumann

For more about Mary Kay Neumann’s watercolors check out the recent article written about her by Katie Vaughn in a Madison Magazine article: Flower Power

Again Art Still Has Truth, Take Refuge There, runs March 19 through April 30, with viewings by appointment (email [email protected]). An artist’s reception, open to the public, is March 24, 5–9 p.m., at PilateSpa Studio, 2045 Atwood Ave., Suite 107. For more information, visit