Opening! Artist Mary Button Durell Returns with her Breathtaking Sculptures


It’s been more than eight years since San Francisco-based artist Mary Button Durrell has exhibited her unique paper sculptures. This month, she returns with Flash: New Works by Mary Button Durell at SF’s La Boutique, a contemporary gallery-cum-shop in Jackson Square.

We recently got a chance to catch up with Durell to talk about her art and inspirations.

Photography by Dara Kerr

Long a fixture in the SF arts scene, Durell studied at both the San Francisco Art Institute and California College of the Arts in the 1970s. While she’s worked in mixed-media, ceramics, painting, and drawing, Durell is best known for her minimalist sculptures formed from tracing paper and wheat paste.

Photography by Dara Kerr

For years she worked strictly with only white paper, but in her new body of work she plays with a wide spectrum of colors. Now, her semi-translucent sculptures are accented and highlighted with bursts of florescent orange, hot pink, and deep royal blue.

“Color is a whole new thing for me. I thought, ‘What would work is if I popped it with some paint,’” she said. “I really liked using the florescent, it created simultaneous contrast and your eyes really have to fight.”

Photography by Danielle Grant

The pops of color are a welcomed accent on her multidimensional pieces.

“Asteroid,” by Mary Button Durrel; Photography by Yvan Benathan for La Boutique

Perhaps one of the more striking new pieces in the show is Asteroid, a sofa-sized piece suspended in a front window of La Boutique. The honeycombed sculpture took more than 18 months to create, with Durell meticulously layering paper to create the crystal-like structures.

“It was so exciting to watch it form,” she said. “It screamed at me ‘You need to build a tunnel!’ You have to obey the rules in what the piece needs.”

Photography by Yvan Benathan for La Boutique

Flash will be on display through August 2012. La Boutique, 414 Jackson Street, Suite 101, SF.

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