Cultivating Temporary Escapes

Colleen Maloney, Tom’s Dinner (2018)

Stephanie Hargrave

Colleen Maloney’s work straddles printmaking and painting, and her influences include David Hockney, Alex Katz, Richard Diebenkorn and especially the vibrant colors of Australian artist Elizabeth Cummings. Her current exhibition, Comfort Zone, is in full bloom for all to see.

As she says in her statement, Comfort Zone is “the place I’ve made when I need a break from our current political environment.” Realizing the need to cultivate a world of temporary escapes and moments of joy, she dove in to making art that reflected her favorite things – eating out, cooking at home, cutting flowers and visiting nurseries.

Food and flowers, the top two common themes, take her to a place where she can get lost in the smells, textures and arrangements. “It feeds my body and nourishes my soul. Using the same ingredients, I try to recreate those feelings of contentment when I put ink to paper.”

The show is comprised of one-of-a-kind monoprints that start with a foundation of colorful ink washes on plexiglass. A multi-plate drypoint etching method follows. Each monoprint has been through the press multiple times, each layer of color building up a richness and luminosity difficult to achieve in other media. The result is a room of tastefully rendered pieces done with a freedom that feels brushy and loose but is anchored it the kind of strategic planning and technical prowess only a seasoned artist can produce. They make you happy. They are rich, colorful (a few are simply black and white actually), and ground the viewer in a resolute satisfaction, a lot like a good meal or an abundant garden.

Colleen Maloney, Comfort Zone. At Shift through July 28, 2018.

 

 

 

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