The Palace of Darius
Maleng Regional Justice Center
An abstract painting conveys the ideas and emotions of ancient architecture.
The Palace of Darius takes its name from a palace complex built in the ancient city of Susa, Iran, during the reign of Darius I over the Achaemenid Empire.
“For me, abstract art can best portray thoughts that lie deepest in our psyche,” painter Mary Henry wrote in her artist statement for this piece, which is currently hanging in a courtroom at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, WA. “This is art of the mind, art of the inner eye.” The Palace of Darius was commissioned as part of the Honors Program, which recognizes visual artists who have made significant contributions to our region through the sustained production of high-quality artwork.“In my paintings, I want clarity and order and so I construct them as I would a piece of architecture,” Henry continued. “Perfection of structure are words I work by, eliminating non-essentials, distilling the painting until its beauty of form, its contemplative spaces speak to the viewer with its energy and insight. I want my painting to transcend the ordinary in an elevation of the senses, to give a feeling of joy and surprise to the eye. I’m not interested in portraying the outward form of life as such, but I am interested in portraying ideas and emotions.”
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Henry’s words reveal her training. As a young woman, she studied with Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy at the Institute of Design in Chicago; the simple forms and absence of decoration in her paintings suggest the lasting influence of Bauhaus principles on her work and spatial understanding.Born in Sonoma, CA, Henry (1913 – 2009) also studied at the California School of Arts and Crafts, and at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts. Henry lived in Washington on Whidbey Island from 1981 until her death.
About the Location
Maleng Regional Justice Center The Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, WA, contains one of the most significant collections of public artwork ever commissioned by King County for a single facility. The collection includes architecturally integrated and site-specific installations as well as many diverse portable artworks— drawings, paintings, photographs, and prints—created especially for the site by Northwest artists. Beginning…
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