Mary’s Tools @ OK Harris NYC

Mary Shaffer’s sixth exhibition with the prestigious New York gallery after a 25-year hiatus.


Returning to her “Tool Series” for the show titled Mary’s Tools,¬†Shaffer combines metal tools, often hand-forged, with slumped glass–plate glass bent in a kiln, or hot glass molded through a process she calls “dippy-do,” in which the object is dipped into a crucible of molten glass. The results are often whimsical, even lyrical.

“I love making this work,” says Mary. “Each found tool, discarded and no longer useful to our present society, talks about a time when families were living on the land and many were self-sufficient; to a time when our connection to the earth was strong and vital.” She says this work reminds her that we’ve lost that connection to nature and the awareness that our stewardship of the earth is paramount to our continued survival as a species.

Mary lives in Marfa, TX, and Taos, NM, both small towns with a strong artistic culture and an environmentally sensitive community that influence her work. Her storefront studio in Marfa has become a popular stop for visitors exploring the galleries and museums of this creative town.

OK Harris was founded by the legendary Ivan Karp, the cigar-smoking, witty art dealer who discovered Andy Warhol and established the Photorealist movement, launching painters like Richard Estes and figurative sculptor Duane Hanson. Shaffer started exhibiting with Ivan in the early 1970’s. Mary says, “When Ivan sold a piece of mine, he would give me all the money, saying, you need this. He was right!”