Images                  Biography

mary long

Artist Statement

15 years ago, following the suggestion of a Memphis artist/gallery owner, I discovered the technique of encaustic wax collage. The painting becomes an intuitive process, beginning with an idea of color or feeling, and then builds a resolution out of the layers of chaos and confusion. Using a mostly pre-planned color scheme, I include in these paintings personal symbols, graphic elements, marks made with oil stick and some- times decorative paper. The work produced during the past year features an increase in 'mark making', childlike outlines and map-like elements. Homes have been represented in my work recently, drawing from a heightened desire for security, as well as landscapes from an aerial view or cityscapes. These home and fence elements come to reside in deceptively happy landscapes and colors, providing a sense of self and stability amid signs of decay and turmoil.

The encaustic technique involves creating a wax medium from melted beeswax and dammar resin. Layers are fused together with a heat gun, occasionally these will be scraped back to smooth the surface or reveal previous layers. This technique brings to the work elements that are both solid and transparent, those that are easily and immediately understood positioned next to those that are evasive and subdued. The wax medium allows me to further explore the painting in a tactile way by selectively scraping, incising and scarring; the mediums and materials are broken down only to be rebuilt and reshaped, making the work an extremely personal psychological reflection and reaction to the subject matter presented. 


Mary Long was born in Ohio and has lived in Tennessee since the mid-1990s. Following studies in graphic design and painting, she began working in encaustic in 2001. She grew up near Canton, where there is a crazy-quilt patchwork of rural farms and factories. 'It is a juxtaposition of abandoned industrial grayness against expanses of happy saturated colors that inspires my work to this day', she says. She is self-taught in wax encaustic techniques, and has been painting with wax encaustic almost exclusively for 12 years. The artist currently lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee. 


Associate of Arts in Painting and Graphic Design

Additional Painting, Art History and 3D courses and workshops, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN and Greenville Museum School of Art, Greenville 

Solo Shows

‘Plot lines’ - Jay Etkin Gallery, Memphis 2015

‘Burgeoning’ - DPS Gallery, Memphis 2013

Group Shows

2018 Size Doesn’t Matter (small works exhibition) Owen Contemporary, Santa Fe

Mary Long / David Baca - Owen Contemporary

2017 Potluck - Crosstown Arts, Memphis

2016 Flowers and Fields, Mary Long / Daniel Phill - Owen Contemporary

Creative Transition - Owen Contemporary

2014 Wax Duet Mary Long / Ellen Koment - Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe

Words Matter - Jay Etkin Gallery

2013 Hanging Participles - Marshall Arts Gallery, Memphis

Waxworks - Karan Ruhlen Gallery

Surface Beauty - Karan Ruhlen Gallery

2013    Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN

2010    Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

           David Perry Smith Gallery, Memphis, TN

           Art Access Gallery, Bexley, OH

2009    Tinney Contemporary, Nashville TN

2009    Cooper-Young Invitational, Memphis, TN

2009    Askew, Nixon & Ferguson Architects Husband & Wife Show

2008    Art Access Gallery, Bexley, Ohio

2007    Red Dot Art Festival, NYC

2003    Perry Nicole Fine Art, Memphis TN

2001    Artfarm, Memphis TN

           COYO, Memphis TN

2000    Cooper Young Gallery, Memphis TN 

Juried Shows 

2009    Everywhere, Nowhere, Somewhere... A Power House Director's Choice Group Exhibition, Memphis, TN

2008    Featured Artist, Brooks Museum of Art 'Art of Good Taste,' Memphis, TN

2007    River Arts Festival, Memphis, Tennessee 2007 - Jurors Discretionary Award

1999    L'Exposition Regionale Pyrenees-Cote Basque, Puyoo, France - Second place winner, Acrylics 

Selected Collections

Pinnacle Bank, Nashville, TN

Butler Snow, Nashville, TN

Eli Manning of the New York Giants, NY

Jane Shelton Designs

Lincoln International LLC, NY, NY

Commercial Bank, Memphis, TN and Southaven, MS

Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects, Memphis TN

NSA, Memphis, TN

Service Assurance, Memphis, TN

Bass, Berry and Simms PLC, Nashville, TN

Michael Redd of the Milwaukee Bucks

Numerous private collections in Memphis, NYC, Dallas and Atlanta