My name is Mary (White) Roberson. I was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1948. My family relocated to Redondo Beach, California, where I spent most of my childhood. My love for art began at a very early age. I see, in retrospect, that I played games with this gift. Sometimes, I tried to ignore it, and sometimes it just welled up inside of me until it won me over, and the gift got its way. It has always been a tug of war between getting out of the way to let it happen, and running a huge list of games to give it a hard time. The reasons for this 'warfare' are complex, deep-rooted, and part of my character.
My parents always supported the pull of art in my life. At age 10, the Guadalupe Church in Hermosa Beach, California, commissioned me to paint a fourteen-foot mural. It was a landscape, and it was as if I was the medium through which the landscape appeared. This sounds 'mystical', but art is mystical, and creativity is even more puzzling. It seems to happen effortlessly, when the self goes on sabbatical, which comes and goes like the ebb and flow of the tide. I attended high school in Redondo Beach, and my teachers took a personal interest in my love for art. They encouraged me, sensing, I know now, that I had a wonderful gift that required cultivation and care, especially in contrast to my rebellious nature. They saw something in me that I often tended to minimize and downplay. They kept my head above water while I dallied with my own demons and problems, which I have finally come to understand.
By age sixteen, I had developed my own style of painting. It was my nature to shun formal training, partly out of rebellion, partly because I sensed that "art lessons" might impair or somehow damage what was already complete inside of me. I began to win awards. Recognition put me into the limelight, and I found this very uncomfortable. In truth, I was defending a fictitious, negative opinion about myself and it is with some sadness that I must confess that this took precedence over my art, my gift, and my happiness. I was locked into a pattern of sabotage, and, in fact, I abandoned art altogether, but not deep down in my heart. The gift never left me and I could feel its presence in the background. It was rooting for me to get on with it so I could find the light of day. Even in the depths of sabotage, I would sell my sketches to survive. It was as if art itself was my secret life preserver. It was my best friend. It never abandoned me, and it was always there, in the ready, just in case I was ready to get on with my life.
Our lives include a long road of history, a mixture of the negative and the positive. The urge to pick up the brush and paint again showed up when I divorced my husband in 1991. Once again, art came to my rescue to remind me that creativity was, perhaps, the purpose for life itself. Try as hard as I might, I could not resist the lure of my gift, and little by little it became the path I followed. I always loved animals and they became the focus of my art. They became my inspiration. I loved two things, in addition to my family; animals and art, and by putting the two together, I discovered that I could love me, too.
When I look back at my story, I am moved by the war I waged with truth, and I am so thankful that I am free now to paint to my hearts content. I love to camp in Yellowstone, where the wildlife roams free, posing fir digital camera sessions, while I enjoy the relative peace and quiet of my growing love for this profound mystery that is life itself. When I wake up in the morning, I visualize canvases that wait for me to show up and deliver the goods. There is a growing excitement in the air, and, for me, it is all about capturing the essence of this dream on canvas.
1969-1972 Studied informally with Bentley Schaad, painter and instructor at Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA
1968-1971 Attended Otis Art Institute
1966-1968 El Camino Junior College Fine Arts Major, El Camino, CA
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
A Window To The Truth, Altamira Fine Art, Jackson, WY
2012 From the Tetons to the Serengeti, Altamira Fine Art, Jackson, WY
2013 The Nature of Contemporary Impressionism, Altamira Fine Art, Jackson, WY
2010 Celebrating the Surreal, Altamira Fine Art, Jackson, WY
2009 The Natural Heart, Meyer Gallery, Park City, UT
2009 Nature is Life in the Dream, Altamira Fine Art, Jackson, WY
2008 Wild Yonder, Visions West Galleries, Bozeman and Livingston, MT
2007 What the Earth Says, Visions West Galleries, Bozeman and Livingston, MT
2007 Symbiosis, Meyer/Milagros Gallery, Jackson, WY
SELECTED TWO-PERSON EXHIBITIONS
2014 Naturally, Altamira Fine Art, Jackson, WY
2011 Out West, Altamira Fine Art, Jackson, WY
2008 The Wild, Diehl Gallery, Jackson, WY
2006 Meyer/ Milagros, Jackson, WY
2004 Kneeland Gallery, Ketchum, ID
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2014 Contemporary Naturalism, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2010 FEATURED PAINTER, Western Visions, National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, WY
2006-2016 Western Visions, National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, WY
2005 INVITATIONAL Wildlife Art for a New Century II, (Curated by Adam Duncan Harris, Ph.D)
National Museum of Wildlife Art (catalogue)
CURRENT GALLERY AFFILIATIONS
Altamira Fine Art - Jackson, WY
Gerald Peters Gallery – Santa Fe, NM
Visions West Galleries – Livingston/Bozeman, Mt - Denver, Co
COLLECTIONS- PUBLIC AND PRIVATE
National Museum of Wildlife Art – Permanent Collection, Jackson, WY
Booth Western Art Museum – Permanent Collection, Cartersville, GA
Numerous Private Collections in Canada, US and New Zealand