Mary Mabbutt studied at Loughborough College of Art and Design between 1971 and 1974, followed by the Royal Academy Schools from 1975 to 1978. Mabbutt first exhibited her work in the 1981 Royal Academy Summer Show. Mabbutt has since exhibited her work extensively at galleries including Paton Gallery, London, Oriel Gallery, Cardiff and Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall.
Mabbutt's works are held in numerous collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Arts Council, London and Usher Gallery, Lincoln. Mabbutt's self-portrait was acquired by Ruth Borchard Collection in 2011. Alongside her work as an artist, Mabbutt has taught both Fine Art and Illustration and textiles at colleges across the U.K., including University College Falmouth and the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education.
Mabbutt's paintings are derived from moments of recognition and awareness in the artist's own life. As Mabbutt explains, 'painting for me is an active celebration of the life into which it is integrated.' Mabbutt's magnetic Red Studio Portrait captures the artist at work, her figure monumentally realised like a tall, sentient sculpture, a dynamically still presence in a chic long dress and with the elongated form of an Art Deco-ish lizard brooch resting on (but seemingly about to scamper off - so alive it is!) the vast swathe of her left lapel. Mabutt's self-portrait captures what critic Nick Wegner has described as 'a magnetic quality; of mysterious vitalised objects, and the soft cast light of a reflective existence.'