Mary Banas is surrounded by chromatic moments. Her desk is full of pops of color, a myriad of papers with glimpses of modern typography and several books by different authors, all well organized and eagerly awaiting to be referenced. Her walls bear carefully chosen images, cards, posters, and pictures propped up with colorful tape. Mary’s work of course is similar; deliberate and thoughtful with a pop of color.
An artist, teacher, designer, and visual researcher, Mary Banas lives and works in the Bay Area. She has been teaching since 2007 and is currently teaching the BFA and MFA programs at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Inspired by the city around her, Mary observes what others look at as ordinary and transforms it into the fuel that drives her art practice.
Her personal creations at the moment examine work from Sol Lewitt, with a specific focus on his book, Autobiography. She has taken the format and images of the book, scanned them, printed them, cut them out, turned them into writing prompts, taken them out of context and put them into new context. This process transforms Lewitt’s work into new pieces that exist in our modern world. What began from a strong sense of fascination with Lewitt’s book has birthed a myriad of projects that took on a life of their own.
“I aim to make work that is (somehow) good for people.” In her commissioned work, Banas designed a poster for artist Selby Cole’s remote happening “No Phone Day” which encouraged participants to consider their relationship to their smartphone, and designed the album art for Mitski’s “Be The Cowboy” record down to the coke bottle green color of the vinyl and special edition 100% silk handkerchief printed with lyrics. Banas explains that when she has the privilege of choosing, the work she takes on directly correlates with who she believes should be seen, heard; people that should be paid attention to.