Mary Early (born 1975, Washington, DC) lives and works in Washington, DC. She studied visual art, film, and video at Bennington College, and her work has been exhibited at the United States Botanic Garden, Washington Project for the Arts, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Second Street Gallery (Charlottesville, VA), Hemphill Fine Arts (Washington DC,) the Austrian Cultural Forum (Washington DC), Galerie Im Ersten (Vienna, Austria), Kloster Schloss Salem (Salem, Germany), Kunstlerbund Tubingen (Tubingen, Germany), the American University Museum (Washington DC), and the Sun Valley Museum of Art (Ketchum, ID) among other regional and national galleries.
Her early work incorporated formed concrete, tarpaper and paraffin wax, fabricated wood structures, and, increasingly over the years, surfaces coated with wax as a method of preserving or concealing an object within. Recent works have relied solely on solid forms cast in wax, abandoning the use of any permanent armature. Temporary installations are guided by schematic drawings and plans, which then serve as a permanent record.
In 2014 she exhibited her first large-scale installation of wax lines at Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, VA, followed by temporary installations in response to various historical sites in Salem, Germany (2016) and Tubingen Germany (2017). In 2017 she participated in the exhibition “Twist-Layer-Pour” at the American University Museum, which included Untitled [Curve], an installation of thousands of beeswax lines assembled on the floor of the museum. In spring 2018 she was commissioned to create a temporary installation at the Sun Valley Museum of Art, Sun Valley Idaho. This work took the form of two intersecting curtains of hanging beeswax lines bisecting a 12’ foot x 18’ foot room, providing an immersive and enclosed viewing space. Recent exhibitions include Līnea XI at ArtEnables, Washington DC (2021) and Līnea Studies, a survey of recent works on paper accompanying a site-specific installation at Gallery 2112, Washington DC (2022).
Early’s work is included in the collections of the US Department of State/Embassy of Panama and Embassy of Jordan, the District of Columbia Art Bank, The Wilson Building Art Collection, Washington DC, and the American University Museum (Corcoran Collection) among other public and private collections. She is a recipient of the Artist Fellowship Grant from the DC Commission on Arts & Humanities, Washington DC (2024, 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2009, 2007).
Early is the director of HEMPHILL Artworks, Washington, DC, and serves on the boards of Hamiltonian Artists and Washington Sculptors Group. She handles the work of contemporary artists and artist estates, including the work of William Christenberry (1936-2016), Colby Caldwell, Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi, Jacob Kainen (1909-2001), Mingering Mike, Robin Rose, Renée Stout, Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891-1978), Julie Wolfe, Workingman Collective, and the artists of the Washington Color School, among others. She works with living artists and artists’ heirs on long-range planning, and with private and institutional collectors to build and manage significant collections. She has a particular interest in public art and community engagement, as well as the materials and processes of contemporary sculpture.