Born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1942, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, a painter who also prints, is Professor Emerita from the University of California at Berkeley and former Chair of the Department of Art Practice. She retired from the University in 2006. She has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, The San Francisco Art Institute, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA, Humboldt State University, Arcata, Ca, and Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Bogota, Columbia, SA. She exhibits and lectures widely – both nationally and internationally.
She is a graduate of Columbia, MFA (1969), and Howard Universities, BFA (1964). Among the people at Columbia with whom she studied are Aja Junger, Stephen Greene, Leon Golden and Andra Ratz. At Howard University David Driskell, Lois Malou Jones, James Porter and James Wells are among the people who provided her basic introduction to art practice. She credits Professor Ronald Schnell and her Father Professor Ariel M. Lovelace of Tougaloo College, for her love of the arts. In 1993 she was a student at Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture where she started to understand the fundamental function of paint.
As a printmaker she has worked with Robert Blackburn, The Printmaking Workshop of New York City, Nemesio Antunez, Director of Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and Founder of Taller 99 in Santiago, Chile, Tom Vanderlinden-UT at Austin and Professor Karl Kasten, founder of the Department of Printmaking at the University of California.
In 1991 she curated an exhibition for the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile, “17 Artistas Latino y Afro Americanos en USA.” 150,000 people visited the exhibition. In 1993 she received the Artist En France Award sponsored by the French Government and Moet & Chandon. She has represented the United States at a number of Biennales & International Art Festivals including Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea, Florence, Italy, Amadora 2000 VII Biennale 1st International de Gravura, Amadora, Portugal, Biennale International Du Dakar, Dakar, Senegal, Africa, Mondiale d’Estampes, Musee d’Art Contemporaine de Chemalieres, France. She led tours of Robert Coelscott exhibition I nthe USA pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1997. In 1983 she was invited as resident artists to print and participate in the international arts festival in Azilah, Morocco. In 2005 she was chosen by the State Committee to represent Mississippi at the Committees Exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Her work is represented in a great number of international collections private and public in such places as Chile, France, Egypt, Morocco, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Senegal, Nigeria, Gabon, and Gambia, to name a few.
Two hardback monographs/catalogues have been published on the occasion of recent solo exhibitions-The Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson Mississippi (2002) and Togonon Gallery, San Francisco, California (2007). She co-authored with Lee Hildebrand Colors & Cords, a book on the painting and sculpture of musician Johnny Otis published by Pomegranate Art Books in 1997. Mary Lovelace O’Neal lives and works in Oakland, California, she also maintains studios in Concon and Santiago, Chile, SA.