Mary Ann E. Mears grew up in Chatham New Jersey. She graduated with honors and with distinction from Mount Holyoke College where she studied sculpture with Leonard DeLonga within the newly created studio art major program. She received her Master's Degree from New York University. She moved to Baltimore where she taught at the Community College of Baltimore and Goucher College. As she became more involved with commissioned work for public sites, she left teaching to focus on her work as a sculptor and to expand her involvement with public policy in the arts.
The primary focus of Mary Ann Mears's work from the beginning of her career has been creating sculpture for specific sites. The impetus for her work has emerged from an intense conviction about the powerful role of art in a variety of social/cultural settings, public and private. She enjoys the challenge of responding to the physical and spatial qualities of new sites, whether architectural -- interior or exterior -- or natural. Envisioning the potential for a work of art to enhance the experience of encountering and moving through a site is critical to her process. The communities, institutions and individuals who inhabit and use sites bring their own unique needs and desires, which deepen the complexity of finding the optimum approach while expressing the spirit of the particular place.
Over many years she has worked with a wide variety of sites; some of her works have been on a very large scale while others have been more intimate, some have been suspended or wall-hung, others free-standing. Some have been conceived as single focal objects, others create environments or series of encounters. She works primarily in metals such as aluminum and stainless steel and may use many colors, a single color or simply the finish of the material itself.
In addition to her commissioned works, she does two-dimensional works on paper including mixed media pieces, prints and drawings.
In all of her work, she draws inspiration from many sources. Her work may reference multiple images and ideas, creating meaning and metaphor from their intersections. The physicality of sculpture and its connection to primal human physical experience is a critical factor in her work. She is intrigued by the mind/body/esthetic interface.