Sims’ dramatic still-lifes are not just paintings of flowers and objects, but perfect flowers with perfectly ripe fruit and perfectly restored antique furniture. Solitary potted plants are important enough to be painted in portraits along with her friends, cheekily posing in bright colors or with a humorous object.
“I paint because I’m just so carried away by the way things look.” Mary Sims, 1940-2004
“I think that I’m not able to accept the mystery of a blurred area and go into the poetry of it will always keep me earthbound. I’m always going to be, you know, a fact finder, but that’s one of those things you just cannot fret over.” Mary Sims
Mary Sims was considered a Memphis painter although she lived and worked in Eureka Springs, Arkansas for the majority of her life. She was the first woman accepted into the printmaking department at the University of Iowa, where she received a BFA. She did further studies in Rome and then received her MFA from Tulane University. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she taught art at Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College). Her work was frequently exhibited in the region and far beyond, including at her long-term dealers in Houston, Tulsa, Los Angeles and New York.
Her work is in the collections of major private and public collections including John Grisham, Mary Tyler Moore and Burt Reynolds, as well as the Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock; The Assisi Foundation, Memphis; First Tennessee Bank, Memphis; the Kemper Collection, Kansas City; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; nexAir, Memphis; Rhodes College, Memphis; and the Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, among others.
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